Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution provides generally for the exemption of a Florida homestead. Courts generally hold that once a property is established as a homestead, it does not lose that status until it is “abandoned.” Various types of conduct may constitute “abandonment.” Generally, a homestead is considered abandoned when it is no longer a bona fide home and place of permanent residence.
The main consideration in the determination of whether a homestead has been abandoned is the owner’s subjective “intent.” The homeowner’s physical absence from the property is not determinative. Placing a property on the market for sale or signing a contract for the sale of property may be relevant unless the homeowner can show a good faith intention to reinvest the proceeds in another homestead within a reasonable period of time. Although Florida courts liberally construe the scope of the homestead exemption, they also “take care to prevent it from being an instrument of fraud.”