HOW TO LEVY ON REAL PROPERTY IN CALIFORNIA
A levy is the procedure that allows seizure and sale of the debtor’s assets, including his or her real property, to satisfy the judgment.
One of the most important things to consider when initiating a levy and seeking an order of sale for the judgment debtor’s interest in real property is that if it is the judgment debtor’s residence, there is an exemption for the principal dwelling in which the judgment debtor or his or her spouse resides. The procedure for the levy and obtaining court orders for sale is quite complicated and if there is not enough equity in the residence, it will be fruitless.
The homestead exemption is $175,000 in the following cases (see CCP §704.730 for more details):
- If the judgment debtor is 65 or older;
- If the debtor or the debtor’s spouse is physically or mentally disabled; or
- If the judgment debtor is 55 years old and has gross annual income of not more than $25,000, or if the judgment debtor is married, a gross annual income, including his spouse’s, of not more than $35,000.The homestead exemption $100,000 if the judgment debtor is a member of a family unit residing in the residence. (CCP §704.730 (a)(2)). The exemption is $75,000 in all other cases. Debtor has 10 days from the date of service of the Notice of Levy to claim any available exemptions or reduce the levy.
HOW TO OBTAIN WRIT OF EXECUTION TO LEVY ON REAL PROPERTY
In order to seize Debtor’s real property to satisfy all or part of the judgment, the judgment creditor needs to have a Writ of Execution issued. The following forms need to be filed with the Court:
- Application for Issuance of Writ of Execution (in Los Angeles County, you may use L. A. County Superior Court Form No. LACIV 096);
- Writ of Execution (Judicial Council Form No. EJ-130)
Mail the Application and the Writ to the clerk. The clerk will issue the writ and return it to you.
Once the Writ is issued, CCP § 700.010 requires the judgment debtor to be served with various documents, including a Notice of Levy, at the time of levy. Complete Notice of Levy (Judicial Council Form No. EJ-150) and deliver it to the levying officer with the following forms:
- Sheriff instructions (original plus 2 copies)—Sheriffs may levy on property in Los Angeles County, check your county’s Sheriff’s Department Court Services Division for more information on levying officers;
- A check for the sheriff’s fee (check your county’s Sheriff’s Department Court Services Division for the fee);
- Writ of Execution (original plus 5 copies);
- Notice of Levy to judgment debtor (original plus 1 copy);In addition, where the judgment debtor is a natural person, add the following Judicial Council Forms (in blank):
- EJ-155—“Exemptions from the Enforcement of Judgments”
- EJ-156—“Current Dollar Amounts of Exemptions from Enforcement of Judgments”
- EJ-160—“Claim of Exemption”
- EJ-166—“Financial Statement”
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This information is not intended to be legal advice and may not be used as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is up-to-date as of the date of publication. It is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area, nor should it be used to replace the advice of your own counsel.