Search

Chapter 6.13 RCW

HOMESTEADS

RCW Sections

6.13.010Homestead, what constitutes -- "Owner," "net value" defined.
6.13.020Homestead -- What may constitute.
6.13.030Homestead exemption limited.
6.13.040Automatic homestead exemption -- Conditions -- Declaration of homestead -- Declaration of abandonment.
6.13.050Homestead presumed abandoned, when -- Declaration of nonabandonment.
6.13.060Conveyance or encumbrance by spouses or domestic partners.
6.13.070Homestead exempt from execution, when -- Presumed valid.
6.13.080Homestead exemption, when not available.
6.13.090Judgment against homestead owner -- Lien on excess value of homestead property.
6.13.100Execution against homestead -- Application for appointment of appraiser.
6.13.110Application under RCW 6.13.100 must be made by verified petition -- Contents.
6.13.120Notice.
6.13.130Hearing -- Appointment of appraiser.
6.13.140Appraiser -- Oath -- Duties.
6.13.150Division of homestead.
6.13.160Sale, if not divisible.
6.13.170Application of proceeds.
6.13.180Money from sale protected.
6.13.190Appraiser -- Compensation.
6.13.200Costs.
6.13.210Alienation in case of incompetency or disability of either spouse or either domestic partner.
6.13.220Notice of application for order.
6.13.230Petition.
6.13.240Order -- Effect.

Notes:

Lien for assessments in favor of condominium association: RCW 64.34.364(2).


6.13.010
Homestead, what constitutes — "Owner," "net value" defined.

(1) The homestead consists of real or personal property that the owner uses as a residence. In the case of a dwelling house or mobile home, the homestead consists of the dwelling house or the mobile home in which the owner resides or intends to reside, with appurtenant buildings, and the land on which the same are situated and by which the same are surrounded, or improved or unimproved land owned with the intention of placing a house or mobile home thereon and residing thereon. A mobile home may be exempted under this chapter whether or not it is permanently affixed to the underlying land and whether or not the mobile home is placed upon a lot owned by the mobile home owner. Property included in the homestead must be actually intended or used as the principal home for the owner.

     (2) As used in this chapter, the term "owner" includes but is not limited to a purchaser under a deed of trust, mortgage, or real estate contract.

     (3) As used in this chapter, the term "net value" means market value less all liens and encumbrances senior to the judgment being executed upon and not including the judgment being executed upon.

[1999 c 403 § 1; 1993 c 200 § 1; 1987 c 442 § 201; 1981 c 329 § 7; 1945 c 196 § 1; 1931 c 88 § 1; 1927 c 193 § 1; 1895 c 64 § 1; Rem. Supp. 1945 § 528. Formerly RCW 6.12.010.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.020
Homestead — What may constitute.

If the owner is married or in a state registered domestic partnership, the homestead may consist of the community or jointly owned property of the spouses or the domestic partners or the separate property of either spouse or either domestic partner: PROVIDED, That the same premises may not be claimed separately by the spouses or domestic partners with the effect of increasing the net value of the homestead available to the marital community or state registered domestic partnership beyond the amount specified in RCW 6.13.030 as now or hereafter amended. When the owner is not married or not in a state registered domestic partnership, the homestead may consist of any of his or her property.

[2008 c 6 § 633; 1987 c 442 § 202; 1981 c 329 § 8; 1977 ex.s. c 98 § 1; 1973 1st ex.s. c 154 § 6; 1895 c 64 § 2; RRS § 530. Formerly RCW 6.12.020.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.

     Severability -- 1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.




6.13.030
Homestead exemption limited.

A homestead may consist of lands, as described in RCW 6.13.010, regardless of area, but the homestead exemption amount shall not exceed the lesser of (1) the total net value of the lands, manufactured homes, mobile home, improvements, and other personal property, as described in RCW 6.13.010, or (2) the sum of one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars in the case of lands, manufactured homes, mobile home, and improvements, or the sum of fifteen thousand dollars in the case of other personal property described in RCW 6.13.010, except where the homestead is subject to execution, attachment, or seizure by or under any legal process whatever to satisfy a judgment in favor of any state for failure to pay that state's income tax on benefits received while a resident of the state of Washington from a pension or other retirement plan, in which event there shall be no dollar limit on the value of the exemption.

[2007 c 429 § 1; 1999 c 403 § 4; 1993 c 200 § 2; 1991 c 123 § 2; 1987 c 442 § 203; 1983 1st ex.s. c 45 § 4; 1981 c 329 § 10; 1977 ex.s. c 98 § 3; 1971 ex.s. c 12 § 1; 1955 c 29 § 1; 1945 c 196 § 3; 1895 c 64 § 24; Rem. Supp. 1945 § 552. Formerly RCW 6.12.050.]

Notes:

     Purpose -- 1991 c 123: "The legislature recognizes that retired persons generally are financially dependent on fixed pension or retirement benefits and passive income from investment property. Because of this dependency, retired persons are more vulnerable than others to inflation and depletion of their assets. It is the purpose of this act to increase the protection of income of retired persons residing in the state of Washington from collection of income taxes imposed by other states." [1991 c 123 § 1.]

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.

     Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 12: "If any provision of this 1971 amendatory act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1971 ex.s. c 12 § 5.]




6.13.040
Automatic homestead exemption — Conditions — Declaration of homestead — Declaration of abandonment.

(1) Property described in RCW 6.13.010 constitutes a homestead and is automatically protected by the exemption described in RCW 6.13.070 from and after the time the real or personal property is occupied as a principal residence by the owner or, if the homestead is unimproved or improved land that is not yet occupied as a homestead, from and after the declaration or declarations required by the following subsections are filed for record or, if the homestead is a mobile home not yet occupied as a homestead and located on land not owned by the owner of the mobile home, from and after delivery of a declaration as prescribed in RCW 6.15.060(3)(c) or, if the homestead is any other personal property, from and after the delivery of a declaration as prescribed in RCW 6.15.060(3)(d).

     (2) An owner who selects a homestead from unimproved or improved land that is not yet occupied as a homestead must execute a declaration of homestead and file the same for record in the office of the recording officer in the county in which the land is located. However, if the owner also owns another parcel of property on which the owner presently resides or in which the owner claims a homestead, the owner must also execute a declaration of abandonment of homestead on that other property and file the same for record with the recording officer in the county in which the land is located.

     (3) The declaration of homestead must contain:

     (a) A statement that the person making it is residing on the premises or intends to reside thereon and claims them as a homestead;

     (b) A legal description of the premises; and

     (c) An estimate of their actual cash value.

     (4) The declaration of abandonment must contain:

     (a) A statement that premises occupied as a residence or claimed as a homestead no longer constitute the owner's homestead;

     (b) A legal description of the premises; and

     (c) A statement of the date of abandonment.

     (5) The declaration of homestead and declaration of abandonment of homestead must be acknowledged in the same manner as a grant of real property is acknowledged.

[1993 c 200 § 3; 1987 c 442 § 204; 1981 c 329 § 9. Formerly RCW 6.12.045.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.050
Homestead presumed abandoned, when — Declaration of nonabandonment.

A homestead is presumed abandoned if the owner vacates the property for a continuous period of at least six months. However, if an owner is going to be absent from the homestead for more than six months but does not intend to abandon the homestead, and has no other principal residence, the owner may execute and acknowledge, in the same manner as a grant of real property is acknowledged, a declaration of nonabandonment of homestead and file the declaration for record in the office of the recording officer of the county in which the property is situated.

     The declaration of nonabandonment of homestead must contain:

     (1) A statement that the owner claims the property as a homestead, that the owner intends to occupy the property in the future, and that the owner claims no other property as a homestead;

     (2) A statement of where the owner will be residing while absent from the homestead property, the estimated duration of the owner's absence, and the reason for the absence; and

     (3) A legal description of the homestead property.

[1987 c 442 § 205; 1981 c 329 § 14; 1895 c 64 § 7; RRS § 535. Formerly RCW 6.12.120.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.060
Conveyance or encumbrance by spouses or domestic partners.

The homestead of a spouse or domestic partner cannot be conveyed or encumbered unless the instrument by which it is conveyed or encumbered is executed and acknowledged by both spouses or both domestic partners, except that either spouse or both or either domestic partner or both jointly may make and execute powers of attorney for the conveyance or encumbrance of the homestead.

[2008 c 6 § 634; 1987 c 442 § 206; 1983 c 251 § 1; 1895 c 64 § 6; RRS § 534. Formerly RCW 6.12.110.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

Married persons and domestic partners, property: Chapter 26.16 RCW.




6.13.070
Homestead exempt from execution, when — Presumed valid.

(1) Except as provided in RCW 6.13.080, the homestead is exempt from attachment and from execution or forced sale for the debts of the owner up to the amount specified in RCW 6.13.030. The proceeds of the voluntary sale of the homestead in good faith for the purpose of acquiring a new homestead, and proceeds from insurance covering destruction of homestead property held for use in restoring or replacing the homestead property, up to the amount specified in RCW 6.13.030, shall likewise be exempt for one year from receipt, and also such new homestead acquired with such proceeds.

     (2) Every homestead created under this chapter is presumed to be valid to the extent of all the property claimed exempt, until the validity thereof is contested in a court of general jurisdiction in the county or district in which the homestead is situated.

[1987 c 442 § 207; 1981 c 329 § 13; 1945 c 196 § 2; 1927 c 193 § 2; 1895 c 64 § 4; Rem. Supp. 1945 § 532. Formerly RCW 6.12.090.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.080
Homestead exemption, when not available.

The homestead exemption is not available against an execution or forced sale in satisfaction of judgments obtained:

     (1) On debts secured by mechanic's, laborer's, construction, maritime, automobile repair, material supplier's, or vendor's liens arising out of and against the particular property claimed as a homestead;

     (2) On debts secured (a) by security agreements describing as collateral the property that is claimed as a homestead or (b) by mortgages or deeds of trust on the premises that have been executed and acknowledged by both spouses or both domestic partners or by any claimant not married or in a state registered domestic partnership;

     (3) On one spouse's or one domestic partner's or the community's debts existing at the time of that spouse's or that domestic partner's bankruptcy filing where (a) bankruptcy is filed by both spouses or both domestic partners within a six-month period, other than in a joint case or a case in which their assets are jointly administered, and (b) the other spouse or other domestic partner exempts property from property of the estate under the bankruptcy exemption provisions of 11 U.S.C. Sec. 522(d);

     (4) On debts arising from a lawful court order or decree or administrative order establishing a child support obligation or obligation to pay maintenance;

     (5) On debts owing to the state of Washington for recovery of medical assistance correctly paid on behalf of an individual consistent with 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1396p;

     (6) On debts secured by a condominium's or homeowner association's lien. In order for an association to be exempt under this provision, the association must have provided a homeowner with notice that nonpayment of the association's assessment may result in foreclosure of the association lien and that the homestead protection under this chapter shall not apply. An association has complied with this notice requirement by mailing the notice, by first-class mail, to the address of the owner's lot or unit. The notice required in this subsection shall be given within thirty days from the date the association learns of a new owner, but in all cases the notice must be given prior to the initiation of a foreclosure. The phrase "learns of a new owner" in this subsection means actual knowledge of the identity of a homeowner acquiring title after June 9, 1988, and does not require that an association affirmatively ascertain the identity of a homeowner. Failure to give the notice specified in this subsection affects an association's lien only for debts accrued up to the time an association complies with the notice provisions under this subsection; or

     (7) On debts owed for taxes collected under chapters
82.08, 82.12, and 82.14 RCW but not remitted to the department of revenue.

[2013 c 23 § 2; 2008 c 6 § 635; 2007 c 429 § 2; 2005 c 292 § 4; 1993 c 200 § 4. Prior: 1988 c 231 § 3; 1988 c 192 § 1; 1987 c 442 § 208; 1984 c 260 § 16; 1982 c 10 § 1; prior: 1981 c 304 § 17; 1981 c 149 § 1; 1909 c 44 § 1; 1895 c 64 § 5; RRS § 533. Formerly RCW 6.12.100.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Severability -- 1988 c 231: See note following RCW 6.01.050.

     Severability -- 1984 c 260: See RCW 26.18.900.

     Severability -- 1982 c 10: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1982 c 10 § 19.]

     Severability -- 1981 c 304: See note following RCW 26.16.030.




6.13.090
Judgment against homestead owner — Lien on excess value of homestead property.

A judgment against the owner of a homestead shall become a lien on the value of the homestead property in excess of the homestead exemption from the time the judgment creditor records the judgment with the recording officer of the county where the property is located. However, if a judgment of a district court of this state has been transferred to a superior court, the judgment becomes a lien from the time of recording with such recording officer a duly certified abstract of the record of such judgment as it appears in the office of the clerk in which the transfer was originally filed. A department of revenue tax warrant filed pursuant to RCW 82.32.210 shall become a lien on the value of the homestead property in excess of the homestead exemption from the time of filing in superior court.

[2007 c 429 § 3; 1988 c 231 § 4; 1987 c 442 § 209; 1984 c 260 § 30. Formerly RCW 6.12.105.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1988 c 231: See note following RCW 6.01.050.

     Severability -- 1984 c 260: See RCW 26.18.900.




6.13.100
Execution against homestead — Application for appointment of appraiser.

When execution for the enforcement of a judgment obtained in a case not within the classes enumerated in RCW 6.13.080 is levied upon the homestead, the judgment creditor shall apply to the superior court of the county in which the homestead is situated for the appointment of a person to appraise the value thereof.

[1987 c 442 § 210; 1895 c 64 § 9; RRS § 537. Formerly RCW 6.12.140.]




6.13.110
Application under RCW 6.13.100 must be made by verified petition — Contents.

The application under RCW 6.13.100 must be made by filing a verified petition, showing:

     (1) The fact that an execution has been levied upon the homestead.

     (2) The name of the owner of the homestead property.

     (3) That the net value of the homestead exceeds the amount of the homestead exemption.

[1987 c 442 § 211; 1981 c 329 § 15; 1895 c 64 § 10; RRS § 538. Formerly RCW 6.12.150.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.120
Notice.

A copy of the petition, with a notice of the time and place of hearing, must be served upon the owner and the owner's attorney of record, if any, at least ten days before the hearing.

[1987 c 442 § 212; 1981 c 329 § 16; 1895 c 64 § 12; RRS § 540. Formerly RCW 6.12.170.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.130
Hearing — Appointment of appraiser.

At the hearing, the judge may, upon the proof of the service of a copy of the petition and notice and of the facts stated in the petition, appoint a disinterested qualified person of the county to appraise the value of the homestead.

[1987 c 442 § 213; 1984 c 118 § 1; 1895 c 64 § 13; RRS § 541. Formerly RCW 6.12.180.]

Notes:

Compensation of appraiser: RCW 6.13.190.



6.13.140
Appraiser — Oath — Duties.

The person appointed, before entering upon the performance of duties, must take an oath to faithfully perform the same. The appraiser must view the premises and appraise the market value thereof and, if the appraised value, less all liens and encumbrances, exceeds the homestead exemption, must determine whether the land claimed can be divided without material injury. Within fifteen days after appointment, the appraiser must make to the court a report in writing, which report must show the appraised value, less liens and encumbrances, and, if necessary, the determination whether or not the land can be divided without material injury and without violation of any governmental restriction.

[1987 c 442 § 214; 1895 c 64 § 14; RRS § 542. Formerly RCW 6.12.190.]




6.13.150
Division of homestead.

If, from the report, it appears to the court that the value of the homestead, less liens and encumbrances senior to the judgment being executed upon and not including the judgment being executed upon, exceeds the homestead exemption and the property can be divided without material injury and without violation of any governmental restriction, the court may, by an order, direct the appraiser to set off to the owner so much of the land, including the residence, as will amount in net value to the homestead exemption, and the execution may be enforced against the remainder of the land.

[1999 c 403 § 2; 1987 c 442 § 215; 1981 c 329 § 17; 1895 c 64 § 17; RRS § 545. Formerly RCW 6.12.220.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.160
Sale, if not divisible.

If, from the report, it appears to the court that the appraised value of the homestead property, less liens and encumbrances senior to the judgment being executed upon and not including the judgment being executed upon, exceeds the amount of the homestead exemption and the property is not divided, the court must make an order directing its sale under the execution. The order shall direct that at such sale no bid may be received unless it exceeds the amount of the homestead exemption.

[1999 c 403 § 3; 1987 c 442 § 216; 1981 c 329 § 18; 1895 c 64 § 18; RRS § 546. Formerly RCW 6.12.230.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.170
Application of proceeds.

If the sale is made, the proceeds must be applied in the following order: First, to the amount of the homestead exemption, to be paid to the judgment debtor; second, up to the amount of the execution, to be applied to the satisfaction of the execution; third, the balance to be paid to the judgment debtor.

[1987 c 442 § 217; 1981 c 329 § 19; 1895 c 64 § 20; RRS § 548. Formerly RCW 6.12.250.]

Notes:

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.




6.13.180
Money from sale protected.

The money paid to the owner is entitled to the same protection against legal process and the voluntary disposition of the other spouse or other domestic partner which the law gives to the homestead.

[2008 c 6 § 636; 1987 c 442 § 218; 1981 c 329 § 20; 1973 1st ex.s. c 154 § 10; 1895 c 64 § 21; RRS § 549. Formerly RCW 6.12.260.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Severability -- 1981 c 329: See note following RCW 6.21.020.

     Severability -- 1973 1st ex.s. c 154: See note following RCW 2.12.030.




6.13.190
Appraiser — Compensation.

The court shall determine a reasonable compensation for the appraiser.

[1987 c 442 § 219; 1984 c 118 § 2; 1895 c 64 § 22; RRS § 550. Formerly RCW 6.12.270.]




6.13.200
Costs.

The execution creditor must pay the costs of these proceedings in the first instance; but in the cases provided for in RCW 6.13.150 and 6.13.160 the amount so paid must be added as costs on execution, and collected accordingly.

[1987 c 442 § 220; 1895 c 64 § 23; RRS § 551. Formerly RCW 6.12.280.]




6.13.210
Alienation in case of incompetency or disability of either spouse or either domestic partner.

In case of a homestead, if either spouse or either domestic partner shall be or become incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she is unable to assist in the management of his or her interest in the property of the marriage or domestic partnership and no guardian has been appointed, upon application of the other spouse or other domestic partner to the superior court of the county in which the homestead is situated, and upon due proof of such incompetency or disability in the severity required above, the court may make an order permitting the spouse or the domestic partner applying to the court to sell and convey or mortgage such homestead.

[2008 c 6 § 637; 1987 c 442 § 221; 1977 ex.s. c 80 § 4; 1895 c 64 § 26; RRS § 554. Formerly RCW 6.12.300.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Purpose -- Intent -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 80: See notes following RCW 4.16.190.




6.13.220
Notice of application for order.

Notice of the application for such order shall be given by publication of the same in a newspaper published in the county in which such homestead is situated, if there be a newspaper published therein, once each week for three successive weeks prior to the hearing of such application, and a copy of such notice shall be served upon the alleged incompetent spouse or domestic partner personally, and upon the nearest relative of such incompetent or disabled spouse or domestic partner other than the applicant, resident in this state, at least three weeks prior to such application being heard, and in case there be no such relative known to the applicant, a copy of such notice shall be served upon the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such homestead is situated; and it is hereby made the duty of such prosecuting attorney, upon being served with a copy of such notice, to appear in court and see that such application is made in good faith, and that the proceedings thereon are fairly conducted.

[2008 c 6 § 638; 1987 c 442 § 222; 1977 ex.s. c 80 § 5; 1895 c 64 § 27; RRS § 555. Formerly RCW 6.12.310.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Purpose -- Intent -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 80: See notes following RCW 4.16.190.




6.13.230
Petition.

Thirty days before the hearing of any application under the provisions of this chapter, the applicant shall present and file in the court in which such application is to be heard a petition for the order mentioned, subscribed and sworn to by the applicant, setting forth the name and age of the alleged incompetent or disabled spouse or domestic partner; a description of the premises constituting the homestead; the value of the same; the county in which it is situated; such facts necessary to show that the nonpetitioning spouse or domestic partner is incompetent or disabled to the degree required under RCW 6.13.210; and such additional facts relating to the circumstances and necessities of the applicant and his or her family as he or she may rely upon in support of the petition.

[2008 c 6 § 639; 1987 c 442 § 223; 1977 ex.s. c 80 § 6; 1895 c 64 § 28; RRS § 556. Formerly RCW 6.12.320.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.

     Purpose -- Intent -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 80: See notes following RCW 4.16.190.




6.13.240
Order — Effect.

If the court shall make the order provided for in RCW 6.13.210, the same shall be entered upon the minutes of the court, and thereafter any sale, conveyance, or mortgage made in pursuance of such order shall be as valid and effectual as if the property affected thereby was the absolute property of the person making such sale, conveyance, or mortgage in fee simple.

[1987 c 442 § 224; 1895 c 64 § 29; RRS § 557. Formerly RCW 6.12.330.]