The Declaration of Homestead and The Declaration of Domicile are two very important documents every owner of a manufactured or mobile home needs to know about.

Under Florida’s Homestead laws (Florida Statutes 222.05 and Article 10, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution), a properly filed Declaration of Homestead can protect your manufactured home located on leased land from lien or forced sale by a judgment creditor seeking to collect a debt.

222.05 Setting apart leasehold. —Any person owning and occupying any dwelling house, including a mobile home used as a residence, or modular home, on land not his or her own which he or she may lawfully possess, by lease or otherwise, and claiming such house, mobile home, or modular home as his or her homestead, shall be entitled to the exemption of such house, mobile home, or modular home from levy and sale as aforesaid.

Article X, Section 4 Florida Constitution SECTION 4. Homestead; exemptions. — (a) There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty, the following property owned by a natural person: (1) a homestead…

You must get a form DECLARATION OF HOMESTEAD and file it with the Clerk of the Court for the county you live in. Many of these clerks don’t know that you are eligible. They think it is just for those who own the land their home is on. Most land-owned homeowners file it to get a reduction in real estate taxes, which it also does grant. But you, as a manufactured homeowner on leased land, want the legal protection against a forced sale that registering your mobile/manufactured home as your homestead offers.

If you do not register your home with the Clerk of the Court under Florida Statue 222.05, it is considered a motor vehicle and does not have the same protections as a house. Manufactured and mobile homes are registered in the Department of Motor Vehicles and not classified as “homes”. You must officially declare it your homestead by filing a Declaration of Homestead with the Clerk of Court.

The FMO has provided a snapshot of the form for the “Declaration of Homestead Manufactured Home”, which follows this article. You must have this form notarized by all owners. Do not sign it in advance of going to a Notary. Then after it is notarized take it to the Clerk of Court in your county to register it. Bring the notations from the Florida Statute 202.05 and the Florida Constitution Article 10 Section 4 with you so avoid problems and repeat trips. Then after it is registered with the Clerk of the Court, make copies and keep the original stamped version in a safe place like a safety deposit box.

The second important document to file is the Declaration of Domicile. That document declares your manufactured home as your “domicile” in case you ever need Medicaid to pay for a nursing home. According to Medicaid rules, you are allowed to keep one home and one car to receive Medicaid aid. Without this Declaration of Domicile, your home is classified as a vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Hopefully, you will never need Medicaid, but this simple form is good insurance just in case the future brings problems.

You must declare that this manufactured home is your permanent home and your principal place of abode. You can have a home elsewhere too but the Florida home has to be your principal home. You must be a bona fide resident of Florida.

You will need a form called Declaration of Domicile; a sample can be found in the State Programs section of FMO’s website but each county has their own. You can go online to get a form from your county or go in person to the Clerk’s office. To register you must go in person with a Florida driver’s license for identification to the County Clerk. There is a fee which varies from county to county. Some let you get it notarized elsewhere and the cost to register is less. No personal checks are accepted. If you are married, you should go together for one fee or, if you go separately, it is two fees. You will receive a recorded form from the clerk. Be sure to copy it, and keep the original in a safe place.

Please click on the following links below for more information

Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller.
DECLARATION OR DESIGNATION OF HOMESTEAD Florida Homestead Law and Creditor Protection

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