If I am moving to another house and turn my existing home into a rental property, then move back into the house after a few years, am I qualified for homestead exemption on both properties?
No. Once the property considered as homestead is abandoned it loses the exemption. Abandonment under the law is considered as renting the homestead property or leaving it and claiming a new homestead. The rental of property for more than 6 months is presumed to be used for commercial purposes. A homestead is also considered abandoned by taking up a permanent abode at a distant place.
The status of homestead is preserved when the family unit is temporarily removed from the homestead but the homestead remains the permanent abode to which the family unit intends to return.
Whether there has been an abandonment of a homestead should be determined by a consideration of all the pertinent facts and circumstances of each case.
Black Letter Law: 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.