Interest on a Florida Judgment
We get questions all the time about the rate of interest on judgments obtained by our office and truthfully it is somewhat confusing due to a change in the law in 2011. The rate of interest on judgments is established either based upon contract or established per statute as set forth by the Florida Legislature. Florida Statute Chapter 55.03 applies to the rate of post judgment interest on judgments. Prior to the 2011 change in the law, the Florida Legislature directed that the Chief Financial Officer of the state would establish a rate of interest at the beginning of the calendar year and it would be that rate of interest that applied to any judgment entered during that calendar year and that interest rate would remain for the calendar year. The amount of interest would be stated in the judgment and the rate of interest that applied to that judgment would remain for the life of the judgment. For example, if rate of post judgment interest in 2008 was 11%. The owner of the judgment would continue to collect 11% interest on the balance until the judgment was paid in full. An 11% interest rate would be a benefit to the judgment holder in years that inflation is low and the judgment interest rate dropped. Further, the opposite is true. If you obtained a judgment in the year that the interest rate was low, that was the interest rate you would continue to received, even in high interest rate years.
The 2011 law changed how interest applies to Florida judgments in two major ways. First, the law now reads that the rate of interest will be adjusted by the Chief Financial Officer on each quarter, on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 of each particular year. At the time the 2011 law was passed the interest rate was set a 4.75% and the rate has remained at that amount until the time of writing of this article.
The second major change in the 2011 law is that, not only does the amount of interest change quarterly, the rate of interest that applies to a particular already established judgment will vary quarterly until the judgment is paid in full. For example, a judgment obtained in 2010 would apply a 6% rate in 2010, 6% for a part of 2011 and 4.75% from October 1 2011 and would increase or decrease per the rate set by the state. As you can see, the calculation of the amount of post judgment interest on a particular judgment is more tedious.
The statute is clear that nothing in the statute shall affect the rate of interest that is set for in a contract.
Current Interest Rate for Florida Judgment
Florida Statute, 55.03
(1) On December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 of each year, the Chief Financial Officer shall set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments or decrees for the calendar quarter beginning January 1 and adjust the rate quarterly on April 1, July 1, and October 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding 12 months, then adding 400 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. The Chief Financial Officer shall inform the clerk of the courts and chief judge for each judicial circuit of the rate that has been established for the upcoming quarter. The interest rate established by the Chief Financial Officer shall take effect on the first day of each following calendar quarter. Judgments obtained on or after January 1, 1995, shall use the previous statutory rate for time periods before January 1, 1995, for which interest is due and shall apply the rate set by the Chief Financial Officer for time periods after January 1, 1995, for which interest is due. Nothing contained herein shall affect a rate of interest established by written contract or obligation.
(2) Any judgment for money damages or order for a judicial sale and any process or writ directed to a sheriff for execution shall bear, on its face, the rate of interest that is payable on the judgment. The rate of interest stated in the judgment, as adjusted in subsection (3), accrues on the judgment until it is paid.
(3) The interest rate is established at the time a judgment is obtained and such interest rate shall be adjusted annually on January 1 of each year in accordance with the interest rate in effect on that date as set by the Chief Financial Officer until the judgment is paid, except for judgments entered by the clerk of the court pursuant to ss. 55.141, 61.14, 938.29, and 938.30, which shall not be adjusted annually.
(4) A sheriff shall not be required to docket and index or collect on any process, writ, judgment, or decree, described in subsection (2), and entered after the effective date of this act, unless such process, writ, judgment, or decree indicates the rate of interest. For purposes of this subsection, if the process, writ, judgment, or decree refers to the statutory rate of interest described in subsection (1), such reference shall be deemed to indicate the rate of interest.
|Rate Per Annum||Daily Rate as a Percentage||
Daily Rate as a Decimal
|Jan 1, 2018||5.53%||.0146575%||.000146575|
|October 1, 2017||5.35%||.0146575%||.000146575|
|July 1, 2017||5.17%||.01416438%||.0001416438|
|April 1, 2017||5.05%||.01383562%||.0001383562|
|January 1, 2017||4.97%||.01361644%||.00013616|
|October 1, 2016||4.91%||.01341530%||.0001341530|
|July 1, 2016||4.84%||.01322404%||.0001322404|
|April 1, 2016||4.78%||.01306011%||.0001306011|
|January 1, 2016||4.75%||.0129781%||.000129781|
|October 1, 2015||4.75%||.0130137%||.000130137|
|July 1, 2015||4.75%||.0130137%||.000130137|
|April 1, 2015||4.75%||.0130137%||.000130137|