Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Homestead and Seperate Residences for Married Couples

Should a county property appraiser grant homestead tax exemptions to both applicants when a married woman and her husband own two separate residences and have applied for separate homestead exemptions?

The answer is yes. Such person(s) must have legal or equitable title to the real estate for which the exemption is filed; and maintain his or her own permanent residence, or the permanent residence of another who is legally or naturally dependent upon the applicant, on the property. The constitutional provision normally allows no more than one exemption to any individual or family unit or with respect to any residential unit. The burden is on the applicants to demonstrate that they have established separate family units. Florida courts have recognized that in order for there to be entitlement to a homestead tax exemption, there must be ownership of the home, residence therein, and the making of such residence as the permanent home in good faith.

A determination of whether a person is maintaining his or her permanent residence on certain property is, within the above statutory guidelines, a question of fact to be determined in the first instance by the property appraiser. The property appraiser is limited to a determination of whether separate residences have in law or in fact been established and a determination that the property is the permanent residence of the owner. See our website for the relevant factors in making those determinations. In sum, a county property appraiser may grant a homestead exemption to both applicants when a married woman and her husband own two separate residences if each taxpayer establishes the right thereto, that is, if each can establish ownership of the home, residence therein, and the making of such residence as the permanent home in good faith. The property appraiser must make this determination from an objective evaluation of the surrounding facts and circumstances.

Florida Homestead Services

Monday, April 03, 2006


Florida’s ‘Homestead Exemption’ law provides unlimited monetary protection for Florida homeowners that most other states do not allow with the exception of Texas. When real property, which is a primary residence, is properly and legally claimed as a homestead, that property is virtually untouchable to most creditors.

Article X, section 4 of Florida’s Constitution spells out the law on Homestead Exemption and a home’s protection. The protection under the law prevents homeowner’s from having their homes forcefully sold, under the process of any court, to pay for debts if the property is claimed as a homestead. If an owner of homestead property becomes deceased, the homestead protection passes on to the spouse and children.
Simply owning a home in Florida is not enough to qualify for this awesome and unlimited homestead protection and the homestead protection is not automatic.

As more than one court has stated, under Florida law, the exemption of a homestead from seizure and forced sale for debts and from having a judgment or execution being a lien thereon is a different thing from the exemption to the extent of $25,000 of a homestead from taxation, as defined for homestead exemption property tax purposes. You must legally establish your residence as your domicile, or your main primary residence to protect it. To qualify a property as a homestead against forced sale to creditors, a sworn affidavit must be filed with the circuit court in the county in which you live and the claim must be legally sufficient in order to withstand scrutiny from all attackers.

There are three exceptions to the homestead protection law regarding a primary residence; failure to pay property taxes, secured creditors such as mortgagors due to the failure to make mortgage payments or putting the house up as security or for collateral, and a “construction” or “mechanic’s lien” for contractors who have performed work or improvements on the residence.

Homestead protection is not the same for property located inside or outside of a municipality. For property located outside of a municipality, the owner can be provided protection for up to 160 continuous acres of land. For property located inside of a municipality, the owner can only be allowed homestead protection for one-half acre of continuous land as long as the land is used as a primary residence for the owner, the owner’s family or anyone else with a beneficial or an equity interest that actually resides on the property.

Another law called “Homestead Exemption” allows current Florida residents to receive a $25,000.00 reduction on the assessed amount of their property taxes if they qualify. This tax exemption reduces your yearly property taxes by a substantial amount. All residents should file their Homestead property tax exemption with the county property appraiser if they have not done so already. The deadline for filing the application is March 1st of each year.

To protect yourself and your family from judgments or debts, it is clearly in your best interest and it is incumbent upon you, to make sure that the proper paperwork is legally sufficient and properly drafted and filed. If your property is your main residence and you have not filed for homestead property protection, immediately contact us.

If you have any questions regarding Homestead protection or are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact me at the email address below or visit our website at

Florida Homestead Services