With home ownership and rental costs on the increase, many people are choosing alternatives such as residing in a mobile home, RV or houseboat. When it comes to filing for bankruptcy we always need to analyze if your property is exempt from the trustee. Ordinarily anything recreational such as an RV, boat, jetski, etc. would be considered a luxury item that would not be exempt.
Florida law has established certain criteria for determining if an RV or boat qualifies as homestead. There is a six-prong test used by the courts to determine the abode is exempt:
- Debtor’s intent to make a non-traditional abode his homestead.
- Whether the debtor has no other residence.
- Whether evidence establishes continuous habitation. Are you going back and forth between a house up north then coming back and using the RV temporarily or is it a permanent home?
- Whether the debtor maintains a possessory right associated with the land establishing a physical presence. For example, renting a lot to keep the RV parked.
- Whether the non-traditional abode has been physically maintained to allow long-term habitation verses mobility. Is the RV taken on vacations or is it parked and set up with utilities.?
- Whether the physical configuration of the abode permits habilitation. If it is set up for full-time use for example, it has a bathroom, kitchen, etc.
Florida has a specific exemption for mobile homes. Please reach out if there is any question on whether your property is exempt.