Claiming homestead exemption in Florida when one of the owners does not live in the house
In Florida, you can claim homestead exemption even when one of the owners does not live in the house as long as you hold title as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship".
Attorney Tom Olsen: Mike, you’re on News 96.5, go ahead.
Mike: This is a homestead question. I own a property with an individual who wants to move out and wants to rent a property with another individual. That will be her primary residence. Now, I’m still going to be living in the house that we’re in right now. She's going to be paying the electrical and the water bill and I’m going to be--
Attorney Tom Olsen: Mike, let me stop you there.
Mike: - still paying the taxes and insurance.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Mike, if I looked at the deed to your property, are both the names on the deed?
Mike: Yes, they are.
Attorney Tom Olsen: If I looked at the deed, after your names, does it have the words joint tenants rights of survivorship?
Mike: Yes, it does.
Attorney Tom Olsen: When you have joint tenants rights of survivorship, you can continue to claim full homestead exemption even if she does not live there.
Attorney Tom Olsen: That’s the good news. Again, let’s say that you were not joint tenants rights of survivorship, plus say you were tenants in common and there was no words after your names and she moved out, then you would only be entitled to one half homestead exemption, but because you have the joint tenants rights of survivorship, you can get full homestead exemption even if she’s not living there or even if she lives somewhere else unknown, another home and claimed homestead exemption on that home.
Mike: Okay, fantastic. That’s all I needed to know. Thank you very much.
Attorney Tom Olsen: I’m glad I could help you out with that. That's often a question that we get about homestead exemption. Of course, you want to get your homestead exemption and keep your homestead exemption, because that saves you money on your real estate taxes