Homestead Protection for Duplex

A reader described a situation where a debtor owned and resided in ½ of a duplex and where the other owner did not reside in the other half unit. The reader asked whether the debtor could protect the entire building under Florida’s homestead laws because the entire building was located on a lot less than one-half acre within a municipality. I think that only ½ the total value of the building is protected, and more specifically, only the debtor’s unit is shielded from creditor’s under the Florida homestead laws. Each divisible unit must stand on its own legal footing. Because the other owner does not reside in his half of the building he cannot claim his part of the unit as a protected homestead.

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