FLORIDA HOMESTEAD PROTECTION
The Florida Constitution provides for Homestead protection, providing for a number of protections for the person/people who claim the property as their principal residence. The original purpose of the Homestead in Florida was apparently to protect the spouse of an unreliable spouse, such as someone who created debts through gambling. In this case, the creditor could not force the sale of the property for the debts incurred by the unreliable spouse.
The Homestead protects up to 160 acres of property outside of a municipality and up to 1/2 acre within a municipality.
The Florida Homestead provides an exemption from a forced sale of the property to pay certain creditors. The Homestead exemption does not apply to sale for debts from property taxes, mortgages, construction liens, vendor’s liens or special assessments. Further, as noted above, the Homestead is only protected up to a certain amount of land (1/2 acre within a municipality). Anything over this amount can be forced to be sold by creditors.
The Florida Homestead also allows a property tax exemption of $25,000 from city, county and school board assessed values. There are also a number of other Homestead exemptions from taxation, such as for those whose spouses have died; those with disabilities, and those of a certain age.
To obtain Homestead, a property owner must apply at the county property appraiser’s office with proof of home ownership, generally before March 1 of the year they claim the exemption. However, different time periods apply for different counties in Florida.
Of further importance, under Florida‘s Save Our Home amendment to the Florida Constitution, the amount that the assessed value of Homestead property can increase each year is limited to (currently) 3% or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
As any buyer of a new home in recent years can attest, the amount of property taxes they inherit when purchasing the home rises significantly, to “just value”, with no further regard to the Save Our Home provisions in that year.
©Michael D. Stewart, Esq. 2007
Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart
335 S. Biscayne Blvd., PH #UPH00
Miami, Florida 33131
This and all other articles listed herein are not legal advice but are merely for information purposes. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.