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By Karen S. Leopold, Esq.

Does the Florida Homestead Act which protects a homeowner from creditors automatically apply when you purchase a home or do I need to apply for this? If an application is required, are there time/date limitations of when I must apply ?  

In response to your inquiry to Buy the Beach Realty, there are two distinct homestead issues. 

One, the more common, deals with a $25,000.00 exemption from a property's assessed value for purposes of real estate taxation.  To obtain this exemption, one must file an application, accompanied by adequate proof of homestead status, on or before March 1 of any given year (for that year's exemption).

The other homestead issue deals with protection from claims of creditors.  This protection is based in the Florida Constitution.  There is no specific filing for this protection.  If a judgment creditor attempts to levy on real property of a debtor, the debtor may file a motion to set aside the property as homestead.  A hearing will be held in which the debtor may present evidence, and the court will render its judgment accordingly.  A favorable ruling will result in the creditor's inability to levy on the property.  It is for this reason that a married person cannot mortgage homestead property without the joinder of his or her spouse.  The non-joining spouse is not bound by the mortgage, and therefore the lender is precluded from foreclosure and may only sue on the promissory note.

Homestead protection is also afforded to debtors filing under Chapter 13 of the US (bankruptcy) Code.

Please understand that this response is general in nature and is not to be relied upon for any purpose.  You are encouraged to retain legal counsel to advise you further.


Karen S. Leopold, Esq.
Leopold, Korn & Leopold, P.A.
20801 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 501
Aventura, FL 33180
305-935-3500 (tel)
305-935-9042 (fax)



Unless otherwise stated square footage and lot dimensions appearing herein are derived from county records and may or may not be accurate.
If square footage is material to a transaction a survey or other measurement is recommended. This information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Current or previous year’s taxes may not accurately forecast future property taxes. Property taxes can increase from one year to the next for various reasons.

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