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Does 3 month rental void homestead tax exemption and save our home benefit?

Author Henri Guerin
Participant 

#1 - Posted: 23 Oct 2008 10:26 
My wife and I bought a house in Florida in 1995 and we claimed homestead immediately and applied for Save our Home the first year it was available.
We have lived in the home all these years.
In December we had to go out of town and decided to rent the house for a period of 3 months to out of state temporary workers.
During this brief tenancy the County appraiser went to our house to question the tenants as to who they were. In a true manner they represented to be temporarily renters. Since then the County appraiser voided our Homestead exemption and Save our Home benefit.
We found all this out by consulting their web site and not by registered mail (which we never received) notifying us of their decision
Upon our return we went to the County appraiser's investigation office to challenge their decision and provided them (by their request) with records of voter registration, utility bills, drivers license, federal income tax and the lease to the tenants---- to no avail.
We then filed a petition to protest the removal of our Homestead and Save our Home tax benefit.
A hearing is scheduled in November and we are asked to submit evidence by the end of October.
We are a bit lost about the proper procedure to follow and what to submit.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#2 - Posted: 23 Oct 2008 17:39 
Henri,

The rental of an entire dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead, and said abandonment shall continue until such dwelling is physically occupied by the owner thereof. However, such abandonment of such homestead after January 1 of any year shall not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that particular year so long as this provision is not used for 2 consecutive years. Did you re-apply for the tax exemption after the denial?

Author Henri Guerin
Participant 

#3 - Posted: 23 Oct 2008 22:37 - Edited by: Henri Guerin 
Thank you for your reply and help.
We didn't re-apply for the tax exemption but in our petition we asked for our Homestead Exemption and our Save Our Home benefit to be reinstated. Isn't it the same? The hearing is scheduled for next month.
In our case, if we understand correctly the concept of abandonment, a temporarily rental of 3 months shall not affect the homestead exemption for tax purpose?
We would like to emphasize that the rental was more a matter of convenience than to seek a profit.
We left all of our belongings in our home to the exception of linens and toiletries because we had the evident intention to reoccupy the house at the end of the 3-month lease. Is this considered abandonment? Would it have made a difference if we had rented unfurnished?
As for the rental fee, once we paid the utilities, maintenance fees, mortgage, interest and insurance our net profit was zero.
What we are concerned about is that our property tax has been doubled because of the denial of Homestead Exemption and the Save Our Home benefit. To us it seems quite disproportionate. We are afraid also that the new tax base will be carried over for the next years.
Obviously we are confused about the financial consequences. Thank you for your clarification.
Henri

Real Cases and Help Wanted Florida Homestead Services -- Florida Homestead Exemption Act MiniBB / Real Cases and Help Wanted /
Does 3 month rental void homestead tax exemption and save our home benefit?
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