North Port, FL asked in Construction Law for Florida

Q: New Home construction sale by owner builder

In state of Florida when you build you new home construction as a owner you are required to live there for 1 year period. What happen when you have to move out during the one year period and sell before the 1 year period. Move out due to family emergency and move out completely out of Florida. What is the exemption to waive the 1 year requirement

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1 Lawyer Answer
Pamela Marie Mori Holcombe
Pamela Marie Mori Holcombe
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Saint Augustine, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Unfortunately, there is no exception in Florida statutes to the one year owner builder residency requirement for "family emergencies". The exact language of the statute provides that "proof of the sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, of any such structure by the owner-builder within 1 year after completion of same creates a presumption that the construction was undertaken for purposes of sale or lease." The statute further provides that "If any person violates the requirements of this subsection, the local permitting agency shall withhold final approval, revoke the permit, or pursue any action or remedy for unlicensed activity against the owner and any person performing work that requires licensure under the permit issued."

As a practical matter, beyond the penalties that may directly result from the violation, offering this property for sale within the first year may well throw up issues with any potential sale as it is this issue and the presumed revocability of the building permit may make title uninsurable and expose you to potential liability from a disguntled buyer. Consultation with experienced construction or real estate counsel to discuss this matter and the full context, such as family circumstances, financial resources, may be able to provide some better strategies to allow this home to remain your legal residence while still assisting out of state family as best possible.

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