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Texas Homestead Laws

Homestead Protection Laws in General

So-called "homestead protection laws," (or "homestead laws") on the books in most states allow property owners to declare a limited piece of their property a "homestead" (based on either property value or acreage) and thus off limits to creditors. Basically, these laws protect real estate from forced sales, intended to prevent homelessness in certain situations. Texas homestead laws predate the state's admission into the union, but are also encoded into the state's constitution.

Texas Homestead Protections Among the Strongest in the Nation

Texas' homestead laws offer much more protection from creditors than homestead laws in most other states and are staunchly defended by the state's courts. They don't impose a dollar value on eligible property, limiting the size of the homestead to 10 urban acres or 200 rural acres. A Texas Justice's opinion in a 2011 appellate court case offers the following guidance:

"Indeed, a court must uphold and enforce the Texas homestead laws even though in so doing the court might unwittingly assist a dishonest debtor in wrongfully defeating his creditor."

What is a 'Homestead' in Texas?

In order to be considered a "homestead," the property must be owned by an individual (or jointly owned), but may not include property owned by a corporation or partnership. It must be a fixed item, such as a house or farm, and cannot include any "movable" asset such as a boat or mobile home. Otherwise, the homestead is limited only by acreage.

Federal Protections

You may also be eligible for federal homestead protections when filing for bankruptcy protection. Generally, federal homestead exemptions protect a portion of your home equity from creditors.

Learn more about Texas homestead laws in the chart below. To continue your research, please see the additional links to statutes and articles at the bottom of the page.

Code Section Const. Art. XVI, §51
Max. Property Value That May Be Designated 'Homestead' -
Maximum Acreage (Urban) 10 acres
Maximum Acreage (Rural) 200 acres

Note: State laws are constantly changing. It is a good idea to contact a Texas real estate attorney or bankruptcy attorney as well as conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) that may affect you.

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