Grill and Gise Convince Court that Judgment Debtor’s Real Property is not Subject to the Homestead Exemption

June 19, 2019 | Commercial Litigation | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

A recent ruling from the Supreme Court of Nassau County demonstrates the power of the judgment enforcement mechanisms of the CPLR when judgment-debtors fail to satisfy outstanding judgments.

In an effort to execute upon a judgment secured on behalf of our client, we commenced a special proceeding pursuant to CPLR 5206(e), seeking an order directing the Nassau County Sheriff to sell certain real property located in Nassau County.  While CPLR 5206 provides a $170,000 exemption for the principal residence, property where the judgment-debtor does not reside is not subject to the homestead exemption, and the principal residence can be sold so long as the value of the property exceeds the homestead exemption.

Based upon the foregoing, and the evidence submitted to support that the judgment-debtor resided in Suffolk County at a different location, Justice Brown of the Supreme Court granted the motion and held “[a] party not occupying property as his principal residence is precluded from invoking the homestead exemption against the enforcement of a judgment.”

Thus, when advising clients as to post-judgment enforcement options, it is important to consider whether the judgment-debtor owns real property that is not a primary residence, or which has value in excess of the homestead exemption, as the Court can order the property sold to satisfy the judgment.

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