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The process for acquiring a judgment lien on a judgment debtor’s non-exempt personal property requires a Judgment Lien Certificate to be filed with the Florida Secretary of State [Fla. Stat. §55.202(2)]. Judgment Lien Certificates can be filed electronically at https://efile.sunbiz.org/jlefile.html. The Certificate must include the following:

  • Each judgment debtor’s legal name, last-known address and social security number or federal employer identification number, if shown on the judgment;
  • If the judgment debtor is an entity, then the entity’s registered name and Secretary of State document filing number;
  • The judgment creditor’s legal name and address, and the name of the judgment creditor’s attorney, if any;
  • If the judgment creditor is an entity, then the entity’s registered name and Secretary of State document filing number, and the name of the judgment creditor’s attorney, if any;
  • The identity of the Court that entered the judgment, the case number and the date of entry of the judgment;
  • The amount due on the judgment and the applicable interest rate; and
  • The judgment creditor’s or its attorney’s signature.

Once filed, a lien arises with respect to all non-exempt personal property, with some limited exceptions, that is owned by the judgment debtor in the State of Florida. The judgment lien is effective as of the date of filing and will expire 5 years after the date of filing [Fla. Stat. §55.204(1)].

A second Judgment Lien Certificate can be filed with the Secretary of State at any time within 6 months before or 6 months after the expiration of the original certificate [Fla. Stat. §55.204(3)]. Unlike judgment liens on real property, which can be extended, judgment liens on personal property are lost. The second Certificate must include all of the information required for the original certificate, plus the file number assigned to the original certificate, the amount remaining unpaid and the interest accrued thereon [Fla. Stat. §55.203(2)].  Once filed, the second lien will be effective for an additional 5 years from its filing date. No additional liens on personal property can be acquired after the filing of the second certificate.

In separate posts, we give an overview of judgment liens, including what must be included in the judgment, and describe how to obtain judgment liens on real property.