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Permanent Resident

What is Required to be a Permanent Resident?

Do you have a neighbor who is away from their home most of the year and you wonder if they have a legal homestead exemption? Did you recently relocate to Florida and have questions about the residency requirements here because they may be different from the state where you lived before? We frequently receive questions about this important subject and hope the following information provides a clear understanding of what it means to have permanent residency. The legal language from our Florida legislature defines a Permanent Residence as the following: “Permanent Residence”……….. means the place where a person has his or her true, fixed and permanent home and principal establishment to which, whenever absent, he or she has the intention of returning.  A person may have only one permanent residence at a time*; and, once a permanent residence is established, it is presumed to continue until he or she shows that a change has occurred.   Section 196.012(17), F.S.

What Are The Rules For Residing On Your Property?

Florida law states that in order for you to be eligible for a Homestead Exemption, for the current tax year, you must meet the following three requirements:

  1. It is your present intent to make the property your permanent residence, 
  2. You have legal or equitable title to the property on January 1, and
  3. You reside on the property on January 1 and in good faith make it your permanent residence.


The law does not require you to reside at your property a minimum number of days every year in order to be a permanent resident.

The Florida Attorney General has interpreted the law to mean that you do not have to "physically occupy" the property on January 1st in order to be eligible for a Homestead Exemption during the current tax year, as long as the other residency factors listed below are met.

Therefore, if you have a second residence where you vacation , or you travel most of the year, or you are temporarily hospitalized or in a convalescence facility, and are not physically occupying your home on January 1st, you may continue to be eligible for a homestead exemption as long as you have legal title to the property, your intent is to return to this residence and you continue to meet the residency factors listed below.

What Are The Residency Factors Determining If A Person Is A Permanent Resident?

Our legislature has defined a number of relevant factors which determine whether a person is a permanent resident of Florida. These are stated in the Florida Statute 196.015, and are used by our office when determining the intent of someone claiming permanent residency and their eligibility for a Homestead Exemption.

  • A valid Florida driver’s license or a valid Florida identification card and evidence of relinquishment of driver’s licenses from any other states.  A Florida Only driver’s license is not acceptable.
  • Issuance of a Florida license tag on any motor vehicle owned by the applicant.
  • Proof of voter registration in this state with the voter information card address of the applicant, or other official correspondence from the supervisor of elections providing proof of voter registration, matching the address of the physical location where the exemption is being sought. (If you are a Permanent Resident and not a U.S. Citizen, you will need to show your Green Card.)
  • A formal declaration of domicile by the applicant recorded in the public records of the county in which the exemption is being sought.
  • Evidence of the location where the applicant’s dependent children are registered for school.
  • The place of employment of the applicant.
  • The previous permanent residency by the applicant in a state other than Florida or in another country and the date non-Florida residency was terminated.
  • The address as listed on federal income tax returns filed by the applicant.
  • The location where the applicant’s bank statements and checking accounts are registered.
  • Proof of payment for utilities at the property for which permanent residency is being claimed.


If you have any questions regarding Permanent Residency, please feel free to call our office at (941) 861-8200 and we would be glad to assist you and discuss your situation.


*Any exception to this rule must be approved by Bill Furst, Sarasota County Property Appraiser. If you and your spouse live in separate locations and are applying for a homestead exemption, a Separate Family Unit (SFU)application, with the required documentation, must be submitted to our office. Call or visit one of our offices for more details.