Florida homesteads are protected on lots up to ½ acre in size within a municipality and up to 160 acres in a county outside any municipality. If your large homestead lot in a county is subsequently incorporated within an expanding municipality your homestead status is “grandfathered” and the homestead over ½ acre remains protected after annexation by the municipality.
A client posed the following question about annexation. He lived in a house situated on a lot over ½ acre in the county. Then, he got married an moved into a new home with his spouse, but he did not sell the old house. He and his spouse filed for a homestead tax exemption. A few years later upon getting a divorce he sold the marital home and moved back to his first house. During the time he was living with his wife a nearby city annexed his lot. The question is whether his homestead status on a lot larger than ½ acre now located in a municipality is grandfathered since he owned and lived on the property prior to annexation.
I do not think the annexed lot is protected homestead because it was not homestead at the time of annexation. A Florida resident cannot have two homesteads at the same time. When this person moved into a marital home he legally abandoned his residence and occupied a new homestead with his spouse. When the city annexed his property this person owned the property but it did not have homestead status at time of annexation, and therefore, the grandfather provision should not apply. Ownership without concurrent homestead status is not protected by the Florida Constitution and the grandfathering provision of Florida law. Homestead protection was denied in a similar fact situation by a Florida court in the case of Manda v. Sinclair.
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