Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Officials Urge Homeowner Participation in Homestead Filings

Officials Urge Homeowner Participation in Homestead Filings Florida Homeowner News, March 1, 2013 FORT LAUDERDALE--(FLORIDA HOMEOWNER NEWS) – March 1, 2013 – An official from Florida Homestead Services, LLC expressed concern today that a vast number of homeowners have not yet responded to the new, easier-to-file Designation of Homestead and Notice designed to protect their principal residences and home equity from unsecured creditors. "We've attempted to get out the information about the existence of the protection from creditors under the Florida Homestead Act, as well as to make known the law that allows the filing of paperwork to protect a homeowner's equity from creditors along with the benefits of the property tax exemption, which only creates a property tax break for the homeowner," one official was quoted as saying. "The whole idea behind this change was to make it easier to file, and although there are conditions that should be noted, it is still an important breakthrough for us." The conditions he was referring to involve the fact that even if a homeowner currently obtains or files for the homestead property tax exemption, there is still a misconception that the local county property tax exemption protects a homeowner from creditors. This can be of vital importance to a homeowner who anticipates a possible problem with a creditor or has a sudden, unexpected liability thrust upon them and wishes to have that home and its equity protected immediately. Allowing for the natural sequence of events could mean the difference between a home being protected from creditors or the homeowner losing their home's equity. One way to protect one's home would be to physically file the paperwork provided by the company, in addition to a form sent to any creditor in order to refinance or sell without paying any judgment liens, which would allow for the protection to take effect immediately instead of misunderstanding that the exemption takes effect on its own. A problem shared by a large number of homeowners is the fact that in many instances, the time and hassle needed to accomplish this is very difficult. Often, it involves travelling many miles to the County Seat in addition to concerns that the forms must be filled out correctly in order for the protection to take legal effect. One remedy strongly endorsed by the large number of homeowners who have used it is to take advantage of the services provided by Florida Homestead Services located on the web at www.floridahomesteadservices.com. They will be happy to take care of whatever the homeowner may need to accomplish this instant protection in a minimum amount of time with a minimum amount of hassle and no mistakes. Florida Homestead Services offers a two-fold service among many other services geared toward homeowners. They will fill out the forms properly and present it to you ready to be filed for a nominal fee. If you would also like to have Florida Homestead Services do the actual filing, the cost is included. Many homeowners have expressed their gratitude to Florida Homestead Services for offering this service. ###

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Can I rent my homestead property and keep the tax exemption intact?

Can I rent my homestead property and keep the tax exemption intact? Generally, the answer is no, and yes. Section 196.061, Florida Statutes, says that rental of a dwelling claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes "shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead." The new rental law (2012) discusses 'substantial portion' in regards to renting a homestead property. Previously the law required rental of the entire property. Now, a 'substantial portion' being rented may constitute abandonment. The issue now rests on the definition of 'substantial portion' since the Legislature failed to include the statutory definition in the new changes of the statute. Our opinion is that all 67 county property appraiser's will have differing opinions and will continue to extract every tax dollar out of the homeowner's regardless of the intent by the Legislators. Examples: If the renting of a homestead property begins after January 1st of a year regardless of the time period of the rental and there is a continuous rental covering any time period of the next consecutive year, that is considered as an 'abandonment' of the homestead under the law as of the second year. You cannot rent for two consecutive years. A seasonal rental (June-August) for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013) would disqualify the property for homestead exemption purposes. Likewise, a one-time rental from December of one year through February of the following year could also disqualify the property for homestead tax exemption as it would involve portions of two consecutive years. The only individuals allowed under the current law to rent a homesteaded property while retaining the exemption are active duty military personnel. If you have any questions, please visit us at http://www.floridahomesteadservices.com