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Oregon Homestead Laws

Declaring bankruptcy is a sad time in many people’s lives. Fortunately, going bankrupt doesn’t mean you have to lose everything. If you own and live in a home, you can claim it as your “homestead.” States create homestead laws to limit the value and size of land you can claim as exempt from a bankruptcy or other court judgments.

However, there are circumstances where the homestead exemption won’t help you. For example, in Oregon, the homestead exemption won’t help you with the following debts:

  • Construction liens for labor or materials for improving the homestead property
  • Purchase money liens or mortgages on the homestead property
  • Land sale contracts for the property
  • Child support judgments, at the discretion of the judge considering factors such as the resources of both parents, ages & needs of the children, new family supported by the debtor, etc.

The table below outlines the main homestead laws in Oregon.

Code Sections Oregon Revised Statutes Sections 18.395 to 18.422 – Homesteads
Maximum Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead' The maximum property value that can be claimed is $40,000 or $50,000 if there are two or more household members who are debtors with an interest in the homestead.
Maximum Acreage (Urban) Oregon limits the homestead exemption in an urban area to 1 block. An urban area is defined as any town or city with property portioned off into blocks and lots.
Maximum Acreage (Rural) The maximum amount of land that can be claimed outside a town or city with blocks or lots is 160 acres. However, note that the 160 acres would have to have a maximum value of less than $40,000 to $50,000, which is unlikely even in rural areas.

If you’re concerned about your debts, you should seek help with a local credit counseling agency. Credit counseling can help you maintain a budget and put yourself back on track. If you need legal advice on homestead laws or representation in a bankruptcy or other debt case, you need to speak with an Oregon debtor lawyer. Or, if you’re worried about losing your home due to a different type of real estate issue, you should speak with a local, experienced real estate lawyer.

Note: State laws are updated frequently, ao it’s important to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you’re reviewing.

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