Judgment Liens in Connecticut

A plaintiff who obtains a court judgment against a defendant will want to place a judgment lien on a defendant’s residence, in the amount of the judgment.

Connecticut has a homestead exemption law, found at Conn. General Statutes 52-352b (t)

The exemption applies to

(t) The homestead of the exemptioner to the value of seventy-five thousand dollars, or, in the case of a money judgment arising out of services provided at a hospital, to the value of one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, provided value shall be determined as the fair market value of the real property less the amount of any statutory or consensual lien which encumbers it.

The exemptioner must be a natural person. The homestead must be “owner occupied real property used as a primary residence.” (Presumably, if the residence is owned by a trust, the trust cannot exempt the real property).

Conn. General Statutes 52-352f provides
A money judgment may be enforced against any property of the judgment debtor unless the property is exempt from application to the satisfaction of the judgment under section 52-352a, 52-352b, 52-352d or 52-361a or any other provision of the general statutes or federal law. The money judgment may be enforced, by execution or by foreclosure of a real property lien, to the amount of the money judgment with (1) all statutory costs and fees as provided by the general statutes, (2) interest as provided by chapter 673 on the money judgment and on the costs incurred in obtaining the judgment, and (3) any attorney’s fees allowed pursuant to section 52-400c.

Therefore, the $75,000 exemption effectively protects $75,000 in equity of a residence, from foreclosure, by a judgment lienor.

“Once a foreclosure sale is confirmed and reduced to proceeds, the homeowner’s exemption rights attach to the proceeds of the sale. ” Spears v. Elder, 156 Conn. App. 778 at 787 (2015). Therefore, if a judgment lien holder would seek to foreclose, a judgment debtor would be entitled to $75,000 proceeds from the foreclosure sale, before the judgment lienholder gets paid.

Example – Foreclosure sale by lien holder

Proceeds – $180,000

1st Mortgage – $120,000

Balance due – $60,000 – paid to judgment debtor – as exempt proceeds of sale

Judgment Lienholder gets nothing

Interestingly, it appears that there is no exemption in a situation in which a judgment debtor sells his or her property at a private sale. Assuming the same situation above, the lienholder would seem to be entitled to payment of the $60,000, rather than the judgment debtor.

Similarly, it is not clear if a judgment lienholder would get paid, before a judgment debtor, in the case of a foreclosure by a mortgagee.

Example, Foreclosure by mortgagee/Bank

1st Mortgage $120,000

Balance due $60,000 – since the statute prevents the lienholder from enforcing the lien, and the lienholder is not “enforcing the lien,” it appears that the lienholder should be able to collect the $60,000 balance.

If you have any questions, concerning judgment lien enforcement in Connecticut, please feel free to contact

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518



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