A caller asked me to explain the Florida homestead law limitation on the size of lots protected from creditors. Florida law protects 100% of the value of homestead properties situated within a Florida municipality so long as the homestead is located on a lot not greater than ½ acre in size. The caller asked me what the term ” municipality ” meant. A municipality is a “city” incorporated as a “city” under Florida law. The terms municipality and city are synonymous for homestead purposes. Other people who contemplate moving to Florida have asked me how they can determine if a property they are interested in purchasing is located within a municipality. The real estate listing agreement and the property tax assessors website should state whether any particular property is in a city. Look to see if property is assessed for tax purposes for municipal or city tax; if it is just assessed a county tax then it is in the county, not the city.
Some people are confused by post office addresses that refer to a properties location by its closest cities. In Florida, and probably in many other states, a property’s address may refer to a city even though the property is not situated within the boundaries of the city. For example, the City of Miami is actually a very small area although the a great number of properties located outside the municipal limits have the address of “Miami, Florida.” Only the properties located within the strict municipal limits of Miami (in this example) are limited to ½ acre homestead protection.