Property Appraiser addresses Homestead Exemption concerns

Hurricane Michael

BAY COUNTY, Fla. — Many residents have taken to social media to voice concerns about their Homestead Exemption being denied.

Residents got a notice that they were denied due to Hurricane Michael damage but the Property Appraiser’s Office says there’s more to it.

News 13 reached out to Dan Sowell, Bay County Property Appraiser and he released the following information.

Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell said no one will have their homestead exemption removed if his office is aware of their intent to return to their homesteaded property once they have repaired or rebuilt their home.

Sowell said it does not matter if one is temporarily living in a travel trailer, FEMA trailer or mobile home, if it is their intent to return to the homesteaded property their homestead exemption will remain on the property.

Those with the homestead exemption have three years to rebuild within 110% of their original square footage and retain the assessed value they had prior to the storm.

Sowell said his office had 2788 homestead exemption renewal cards returned. He added that while they have been able to contact the majority of these owners to determine their intentions, there are about 300 owners the appraiser’s office has made five unsuccessful attempts to contact to determine their homestead status.

Sowell stated that if one was displaced from their homesteaded property by Michael, and was not living in your home on January 1, 2019 but it is their intent to return once repairs are completed, to please contact the appraiser’s office. Sowell says he does not want anyone to lose their homestead exemption.

Sowell went on to say if one has received a homestead exemption denial, which his office is required to send by July 1st to those owners for whom we cannot confirm their homestead status, to please contact them as soon as possible.

Upon determination of your intent to return to your homesteaded property, your homestead exemption may be reestablished. But the absolute deadline is September 9, 2019.

The office number for the appraiser is (850) 248-8401. The office is located at 860 W. 11th St. and is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

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