This is the time of year when your second home in Florida seems like the best investment you ever made. And then you think, “If only I had the homestead exemption!” 

The most famous requirement of getting a homestead exemption is the requirement to be in the state for at least 183 days a year. As the enforcers of that law, Florida’s counties are infamously good at their jobs. They will actually analyze your SunPass to determine if you were in Florida for the right number of days!

It remains unclear how Florida’s counties will accommodate for interstate travel delays during Hurricane Ian. There are conspicuously few search results relating to this topic which leads me to believe that it’s business as usual for the counties. 

There are other requirements that are less obvious, but still important:

  • At least one of your vehicles needs to be registered in Florida.   
  • You need a valid Florida license or non-driver’s ID.
  • You’ll have to show a deed or tax bill to prove ownership.
  • To determine your domicile, you’ll need a voter’s registration card or a Declaration of Domicile.
  • The property cannot have been rented by someone else for more than 30 days in a given calendar year.

I had clients with second homes in Florida who decided that that was going to be their main home — they wanted to leave New York and Connecticut for tax purposes. One of the things that they recommended was to join a religious congregation. Equally good is joining a country club, or anything else that demonstrates your roots are growing in Florida now.

It’s a big endeavor to pick up sticks and move across the country, even when you’re not trying to satisfy a residency requirement. JHA is kind of a big deal when it comes to working with multiple states. Contact us to learn more.