Boats, Motor Homes and Homestead Exemption
A houseboat was a dwelling entitled to the homestead exemption, where a school sought to levy on the houseboat owned by a parent who had failed to pay school fees, and the parent used the houseboat, which was fully equipped for occupancy and supplied with utilities via dock connections, as her sole, permanent residence; the houseboat was similar to a mobile home, which the legislature had determined to be a dwelling and, although both could be moved, they were self-contained living environments designed for use as residences rather than as transportation. In addition, the houseboat had never been equipped with a motor and could not be used as a vehicle. Similarly, a motor home, which had permanent hookups for sewer, electricity, cable television, and telephone and which was located in a park where the debtors resided, qualified for a homestead exemption. Also, a travel trailer which was a debtor's sole possession of any value and his only shelter for many years was exempt from creditors' claim under the homestead exemption.
Any person owning and occupying any dwelling house, including a mobile home used as a residence, or modular home, on land not his or her own which he or she may lawfully possess, by lease or otherwise, and claiming such house, mobile home, or modular home as his or her homestead, is entitled to the exemption of that dwelling from levy and sale. However, a claim that a mobile home is exempt under the homestead exemption fails if it is determined that the mobile home owner is no longer in lawful possession of the mobile home lot on which his mobile home stands; lawful possession of a lot can be lost through nonpayment of rent.
See FS § 222.05, Meadow Groves Management, Inc. v. McKnight, 689 So. 2d 315, 22 Fla. L. Weekly D271 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. 1997), reh'g denied, (Mar. 12, 1997) and review denied, 697 So. 2d 1217 (Fla. 1997).
Where debtors lived in a motor home, rented a space for the motor home, did not have another residence, and where the motor home did not have a current license plate or registration and thus could not be driven, the homestead exemption applied to the motor home. In re Mangano, 158 B.R. 532 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 1993).