In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects equity in your home. In Oregon, you can protect up to $40,000 of equity in your home ($50,000 for married couples). Read on to learn details about the homestead exemption in Oregon.
For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
The Oregon Homestead Exemption Amount
Under the Oregon exemption system, a property owner may exempt up to $40,000 of his or her real property, or floating, manufactured or mobile home. Married couples may exempt up to $50,000.
If your homestead is located outside of town or city limits, you may protect up to 160 acres. If it is located within town or city limits, you may protect up to 1 city block.
Doubling for Married Couples
Some states allow you to double the homestead exemption. Oregon does not allow you to double, however, married couples filing for bankruptcy in Oregon may increase the homestead exemption to protect $50,000 of home equity.
The Scope of the Oregon Homestead Exemption
In Oregon, the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home, condominium, manufactured home, or floating home. In order for the exemption to apply, the homestead must be occupied by the owner, owner’s spouse, parent, or child. However, if you are not living in your home but you intend to sell it or your absence is temporary and you plan to move back in, you can still use the exemption.
You may also use the homestead exemption to protect proceeds from the sale of the homestead (for up to one year) as long as you are holding the money with the intent to: purchase another homestead, pay rent for up to one year, or use it for prepaid rent or security deposits for renters’ dwellings or property belonging to military personnel during wartime.
You may also use the homestead exemption to protect property outside the state of Oregon (In re Strattner, 269 B.R. 716 (Bkrtcy.D.Or.2001)).
Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Oregon?
As of July 1, 2013, Oregon bankruptcy filers can elect to use the federal bankrutpcy exemptions instead of the Oregon exemptions.
In Oregon, the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
Real Property Held as Tenancy in the Entirety in Oregon
If property is held as a tenancy in the entirety, it means the property is jointly owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals.
In Oregon, you and your spouse may own property as a tenancy by the entirety, but even so a creditor with a judgment can still attach a lien or force a sale of the property to satisfy the debt. If a creditor does force the sale of such a property, and your spouse is not liable for the debt, the creditor may only collect up to the value of your interest in the property, and the remaining sale proceeds will be paid to your spouse.
Finding the Oregon Homestead Exemption Statute
Oregon’s homestead exemption is found in the Oregon state statutes at Oregon Code Sections 18.395 and 18.402. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
You can find the section of the Oregon statutes containing the homestead exemption at the website of the Oregon State Legislature at www.leg.state.or.us.