Updated April 26, 2019
In bankruptcy, a homestead exemption protects the equity in your home. The amount of equity you’ll be able to protect in New York will depend on the county in which the property is located.
For filing information, read How Does Bankruptcy Work in New York?
Under the New York exemption system, the homestead exemption amount varies depending on the county in which the property is situated.
The exemption applies to equity in a house, a condo, a co-op, or a mobile home. (NYCPLR §§ 5206 (a), (d), and (e).)
New York allows married couples to double the homestead exemption. Each spouse can claim the full amount on the property as long as they each hold an ownership interest. Therefore, a married couple can exempt up to $341,650, $284,700, or $170,800, depending on the county.
In New York, the homestead exemption applies to real property, including your home, condominium, or co-op. It also applies to a mobile home.
In New York, you can use either the state exemption system or the federal bankruptcy exemption system but you can’t pick and choose different exemptions from each system. You have to use either the New York bankruptcy exemptions or the federal exemptions.
The federal bankruptcy homestead exemption amount changes every three years. For the most recent figure, see The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions. The exemption may be used for homes, condos, co-ops, mobile homes, and burial plots. Married couples can double this exemption. You can find the federal bankruptcy homestead exemption at 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(1) and (5).
To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Bankruptcy Exemptions: An Overview.
In New York, you don’t have to file a homestead declaration before claiming the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
If the property is held as a tenancy in the entirety, the property is jointly owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals. While New York recognizes tenancy by the entirety, the New York homestead exemption does not provide any additional exemption for this type of estate.
New York’s exemption amounts adjust every three years with the last adjustment occurring on April 1, 2018, but you won’t find the most recent homestead amount in the statute itself. The updated amounts are found on New York’s Department of Financial Services website (search for “Exemption from Application to the Satisfaction of Money Judgments”).
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.