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The Life of a Judgment (Lien) in Florida

A recent case chosen by the Fifth District Court of Appeals goes over the statutory structure for perfecting and keeping a judgment lien on genuine property in Florida. The opinion is Sun Glow Const., Inc. v. Cypress Healing Corp.,– So. 3d–, 2010 WL 4536803 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).

According to Fla. Stat. 55.10, a judgment ends up being a lien on real estate in any county when a qualified copy of it is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of that county and runs as a lien for a preliminary duration of ten years from the date of the recording; and the judgment creditor might extend the 10 year period by adhering to Fla. Stat. 55.10( 2 ):
“The lien offered in subsection (1) or an extension of that lien as supplied by this subsection might be extended for an extra duration of ten years, subject to the limitation in subsection (3 ), by rerecording a licensed copy of the judgment, order, or decree prior to the expiration of the lien or the expiration of the extended lien and by all at once taping an affidavit with the existing address of the individual who has a lien as an outcome of the judgment, order, or decree. The extension will be effective from the date the licensed copy of the judgment, order, or decree is rerecorded.”

The question provided in the Sun Radiance Construction case was whether the judgment lender could rerecord its judgment after the expiration of the preliminary 10 year duration, and therefore develop a new lien on real estate. Because the statute does not specifically foreclose this possibility, the court permitted the judgment financial institution to do so. According to the court, the only impact of the judgment financial institution’s failure to rerecord the judgment prior to the expiration of the preliminary ten years period was to cause the judgment creditor to lose the concern over subsequent lienholders created by the earlier recording and to develop priority just over liens developed after the later recording.
This judgment goes over the ability to preserve a judgment lien on genuine property for the life of the judgment, but it does not discuss the life of the judgment itself. That matter is contained in a separate statute- Fla. Stat. 95.11( 1 ), which sets a 20 year statute of restrictions on judgment enforcement actions. But the analysis doesn’t end there. There is caselaw enabling a judgment financial institution to file an action on a judgment prior to its expiration and in fact renew the judgment, by method of a brand-new judgment, great for another 20 years. See Petersen v. Whitson, 14 So. 3d 300 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009). And probably, based on the Petersen court’s rationale, when the second judgment is set to lapse, the judgment lender might file another brand-new match and acquire a 3rd judgment (and so on).

Based on these statutes and cases, checked out together, a judgment in Florida can basically be good permanently. A judgment lien can be good forever, limited by its recording just in terms of its concern. This analysis uses similarly to judgments coming from Florida, judgments went into in other states taped in Florida pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, see Haigh v. Planning Bd. of Town of Medfield, 940 So. 2d 1230 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006), and judgments gone into in foreign nations tape-recorded in Florida pursuant to the Uniform Foreign Cash Judgments Recognition Act, see Nadd v. Le Credit Lyonnais, S.A., 804 So. 2d 1226 (Fla. 2001).