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In Florida, a deficiency judgment may be obtained when a property in foreclosure is sold at a public sale for less than the loan amount that the underlying mortgage secures. This means that the borrower still owes the lender for the difference between what the property sold for at auction and the amount of the original loan.
Generally, when a person is a joint tenant in owning property, but is the sole debtor on a debt, the creditor may force a sale of the property, but may only reach the sole debtor's portion of ownership in the property to satisfy the debt when the property is sold. For example, if a sole debtor owns a half interest in property, when the property is sold for $10,000, the creditor may only apply $5,000 of the proceeds to satisfy the debt of the sole debtor. Depending on the nature of the property, an exemption under the statute below may apply.
The following are Florida Statutes:
702.06 Deficiency decree; common-law suit to recover deficiency.--In all suits for the foreclosure of mortgages heretofore or hereafter executed the entry of a deficiency decree for any portion of a deficiency, should one exist, shall be within the sound judicial discretion of the court, but the complainant shall also have the right to sue at common law to recover such deficiency, provided no suit at law to recover such deficiency shall be maintained against the original mortgagor in cases where the mortgage is for the purchase price of the property involved and where the original mortgagee becomes the purchaser thereof at foreclosure sale and also is granted a deficiency decree against the original mortgagor.
222.25 Other individual property of natural persons exempt from legal process.--The following property is exempt from attachment, garnishment, or other legal process:
(1) A debtor's interest, not to exceed $1,000 in value, in a single motor vehicle as defined in s. 320.01.
(2) A debtor's interest in any professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(3) A debtor's interest in a refund or a credit received or to be received, or the traceable deposits in a financial institution of a debtor's interest in a refund or credit, pursuant to s. 32 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. This exemption does not apply to a debt owed for child support or spousal support.
(4) A debtor's interest in personal property, not to exceed $4,000, if the debtor does not claim or receive the benefits of a homestead exemption under s. 4, Art. X of the State Constitution. This exemption does not apply to a debt owed for child support or spousal support.