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Maryland Homestead Laws

Just about every state has homestead protection laws intended to protect land and homeowners from losing real estate and property in the event of a bankruptcy. These statutes can allow an individual to set aside a parcel of real property, or "homestead," which would remain off limits to certain types of creditors. Here is a brief summary of homestead laws in Maryland.

Maryland Homestead Statutes

While state homestead laws can vary, Maryland’s homestead statute does not designate a limit on acreage that can be claimed. Instead, limits are placed on the total value that can be set aside you if you file for bankruptcy. Under Maryland law, the property cannot be valued at more than $3,000 for a single individual, plus a possible $2,500 in a Title 11 action. Homestead protections in Maryland are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section

Cts. & Jud. Proc. §11-504

Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead'

$3,000 plus an additional $2,500 in a Title 11 bankruptcy in value, in real property, or personal property

Maximum Acreage (Urban)

-

Maximum Acreage (Rural)

-

Even with Maryland’s homestead protections, you may still be forced to sell or forfeit property under four general exceptions:

  • If you specifically pledged the homestead property as credit for a mortgage;
  • If there was a pre-existing lien on the property before the establishment of homestead;
  • If you owe past due taxes to the State of Maryland and Maryland counties or municipalities; or
  • If you owe money to mechanics, contractors, or builders for work performed in repairing or improving the property.

Additionally, Maryland’s homestead exemption is a state law. Therefore it is subject to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, meaning federal law. In other words, federal bankruptcy law can override the state law. So if you have any federal income tax liens, those would be superior to Maryland’s state homestead protection law. That said, the Internal Revenue Service has been generally reluctant to foreclose on a citizen’s home in order to collect on a tax debt. Normally, the IRS only gets involved if the property is mortgaged or sold off before the tax lien has expired.

Maryland Homestead Laws: Related Resources

Real estate laws can be confusing, especially where they overlap with state and federal tax laws. If you would like legal assistance with a real estate or bankruptcy case, you can contact a Maryland bankruptcy attorney or a Maryland real estate attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s homestead protections section for more articles and resources on this topic.

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