All applications to claim homestead exemption in Florida must be filed by no later than March 1, 2022.  In order to be eligible, you must have owned the property on or before January 1, 2022 and submit a timely application.

How to Apply:

You may complete the application online, by mail or in person by March 1st of the year you are applying. Check with your local property appraiser’s office for specific instructions on how to file in your county.

Are you eligible:

In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

•  Have legal title to the property

• Reside in the property

• Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident (green card)

• Be a permanent resident of the State of Florida

What Information will you need to provide:

To apply for homestead exemption you will need to provide:

•Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID

•Social Security Number/US Passport or Green Card

•Original Warranty Deed

•Copy of either FPL or Water bill to show you reside in the property

What are the benefits of having a homestead exemption:

Many homeowners believe that the benefits of having a property declared “homestead” is just to reap the tax savings. Afterall, the homestead exemption will not only reduce the assessed value by $50,000.00, plus an additional $25,000.00 for qualified senior citizens, as well as cap the tax increases from year to year by 3%, however the greater benefit is in declaring the property safe from creditors and judgments.

Many Florida residents are not aware that many debtors move to Florida and claim homestead exemption in order to protect themselves from judgment creditors.  This is because Florida is one of the few states that do not permit creditors to take your homestead in order to satisfy a judgment or debt.  Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution exempts homestead property from levy and execution by most judgment creditors. This means that a creditor cannot place a lien against or force the sale of your homestead to satisfy an obligation or monetary.  This Florida  protection is one of the broadest in the United States.    Florida’s homestead protection is such a potent asset protection tool because of its unlimited monetary protection.  Florida residents may invest millions of dollars in lavish estate homes and farms and still protect the full value of these luxurious residences.

Article X, Sec. 4(b) extends these exemptions to a surviving spouse and  heirs of a deceased homeowner.  Upon the death of the homeowner, the surviving spouse and related heirs may receive the homestead free and clear of any creditor’s claim.  To legally establish the protected homestead, a benefitted party (spouse or related heir) should file a petition to determine homestead in an estate administration proceeding.      

Certain types of co-ownership (such as tenancy in common and joint tenancy with rights of survivorship) of a homestead may jeopardize the homestead exemption when one of the joint owners does not reside on the property.  In such a case, a judgment against one co-owner not residing on the property may result in that co-owner’s interest being levied against, which would force a judicial sale of the homestead property.

In summary, Florida homestead laws and the protections given by them are significant and warrant consideration by homeowners and prospective homeowners.  Should you need assistance applying for homestead exemption or have questions and wish to discuss the homestead issues you are facing, do not hesitate to contact me. I have been helping Florida homeowners with their real estate needs for over 23 years and glad to set up a free consultation to help you with your questions and concerns.