The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

The Loss of Homestead Through Rental

Real Property, Probate and Trust Law

The recent economic downturn has led to numerous battles between county property appraisers desperate to preserve revenue and homeowners desperate to generate additional income from their properties. A new battle ground has emerged as to the extent to which property appraisers can revoke the constitutional right to homestead where property owners rent out their homesteaded properties (hereafter, the “homestead exemption” or “homestead”).

It had been commonly understood that property owners who rent their entire dwelling for long periods of time forfeit the benefit of homestead. The underlying rationale for the termination of homestead due to long-term rentals is that the owner’s long-term rental activity, coupled with his or her implied absence from the property, signifies the owner’s intent to reside elsewhere. Therefore, the owner’s departure and residence elsewhere, coupled with the conversion of his or her home into a commercially oriented use (a rental), reveals an “intent” to abandon the homestead.1

contrast, there are occasions when property owners do not intend to abandon their residence through rental. For example, numerous Floridians rent out their homes for short periods of time and may even remain on the premises during the course of these rentals. These short-term or seasonal renters are now finding themselves forced to defend their right to their homestead exemption, even when they still consider their home to be their permanent residence. The purpose of this article is to explore the effect of a rental on the homestead exemption and to recommend legislative revisions aimed at clarifying the permitted contours of rental activity in the context of a homestead abandonment case.

Early History of Abandonment of Homestead Through Rental
Florida courts have traditionally emphasized that a determination of homestead abandonment is made on a case-by-case basis. In particular, courts conduct a factual inquiry as to whether the owner’s rental activity constituted abandonment of the homestead.2Nevertheless,early cases and guidance from the Florida attorney general directly supported the preservation of homestead, even when the property owner engaged in rental.

In early cases in which homestead was restored, the homeowner had left personal property onsite and otherwise manifested an intent to return.3 Moreover, the Florida Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the subject emphasized that the owner’s continuous physical presence without interruption was not required to preserve homestead.4

The Legislative “Fix”
The Florida Legislature attempted to codify and clarify the early case law on abandonment through rental when it adopted F.S. §196.061 (1996) (rental statute). The rental statute can be summarized as follows. The rental statute requires there to be a “rental.” Second, the rental must be of the “entire dwelling.” The rental of the entire dwelling constitutes an abandonment of the right to homestead. However, the statute contains an exception with an exception to the exception. The rental statute provides that property owners do not lose homestead if they had established homestead through permanent residency on January 1 of the year.5 For example, if an owner of homesteaded property rented the dwelling on January 2, but had qualified for homestead on the first, homestead would not be lost for that year. However, this exception cannot be utilized for two consecutive years.6 The rental statute is not the model of clarity and is ambiguous in several instances. As discussed more fully below, the rental statute does not define what a “rental” means or what constitutes the “entire dwelling.”

Deference in Statutory Construction
The threshold question in all ad valorem property tax disputes is whether the rules of construction of the applicable statutes favor the homeowner or the property appraiser. In large measure, the outcome of this inquiry depends on the nature of the tax exemption in question. Unlike the bulk of tax exemptions, the right to a homestead exemption sounds in the Florida Constitution.7 The fact that homestead is a constitutional right in comparison with other nonconstitutional exemptions does not end the inquiry in favor of the property owner.

Florida courts have struggled with the burden of proof and deference due to property owners in homestead cases. As illustrated, the case law is somewhat inconsistent. However, it can safely be said that homestead is a “qualified constitutional right” because homestead must be applied for.

Florida courts have explained that the legislature may establish appropriate limits in terms of qualifying for the right to homestead.8 For example, the Florida Legislature has established requirements for the application and processing of homestead applications.9 Moreover, the legislature established criteria to be utilized for determining “permanent residency” (the threshold requirement for qualifying for homestead).10 For example, in F.S. §196.015 (2009), the legislature provided property appraisers with criteria to utilize in determining permanent residency. The criteria include an assessment of the address provided on items such as a recorded sworn statement of domicile, voter registration, driver’s license, utility statements, bank statements, vehicular registration, and business licensure.11

However, in contrast to cases dependant on whether an owner qualifies for homestead (e.g., whether the owner meets the criteria of §196.015), the rental statute appears to assume that the property owner has already established or qualified for homestead. The inquiry becomes whether the now established right to homestead has been abandoned. Lest there be any doubt on this point, the authors respectfully pose the following question: How can a right be “abandoned” if the owner had not qualified for the right to begin with? Moreover, recall that §196.061 is entitled “Rental of homestead to constitute abandonment.” The distinction between qualifying for the right and having the established right taken away by deeming it abandoned is important because Florida courts have deferred to property appraisers in cases addressing the act of qualifying for homestead. contrast, Florida courts have, with a few notable exceptions, zealously protected the established right to homestead.

There is a sizeable gulf between general tax exemption cases and cases interpreting the constitutional right to homestead. In cases addressing nonconstitutional exemptions, Florida courts have generally held that tax exemptions are to be construed against the individual claiming the exemption.12 Therefore, the burden favors the property appraiser during the initial qualification phase.13

contrast, once the right to homestead has been established, Florida and federal courts have generally been protective of the right in cases both when homestead is used as a shield against creditors and when the established right to homestead has been called into question.14 A 2001 decision from the Florida Supreme Court in the case of Havoco of America, Ltd. v. Hill, 790 So. 2d 1018 (Fla. 2001),illustrates the deference given to the homeowner once homestead has been established. The Florida Supreme Court held:

[T]his Court’s homestead exemption jurisprudence has long been guided by a policy favoring the liberal construction of the exemption: “Organic and statutory provisions relating to homestead exemptions should be liberally construed in the interest of the family home. A concomitant in harmony with this rule of liberal construction is the rule of strict construction as applied to the exceptions.15

The Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Havoco was consistent with an earlier decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in the case of Poppell v. Padrick, 117 So. 2d 435 (Fla. 2d DCA 1959). In that case, the property owners’ homestead status was restored when the owners rented their homesteaded property to live with their widowed mother for a number of months over the course of several years.16 The Second District held:

Once the property has acquired the status of a homestead, this status would continue until an abandonment has occurred which being dependent upon the intent of the claimant, is a question of fact to be determined in each particular case.. . . 17

In considering the question of whether a homestead status has been acquired or whether it has been abandoned, a court in its determination must be guided by certain fundamental principles. The constitutional and statutory provisions concerning homesteads should be interpreted in the liberal and beneficent spirit in which they were conceived and enacted in the interest of the family home.18

In what could be viewed as an emergent split from the Florida Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Havoco and the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Padrick, the First District Court of Appeal recently held that the rule of strict construction for nonconstitutional exemptions applies to the rental statute. In Haddock v. Carmody, 1 So. 3d 1133 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009),the First District Court of Appeal held that the owner of a condominium on Amelia Island had abandoned homestead under the rental statute even though the owner had locked two closets prior to leaving the unit.19 The property owner argued that it had not rented the “entire dwelling” and, therefore, the rental statute did not apply.20

Based on the totality of the circumstances, the First District held that the owner had abandoned his homestead for the years in question.21 However, the First District went a step further and lumped cases involving the rental statute with other cases pertaining to the qualification for homestead.22

In this regard, an argument could be made that the First District’s holding in Haddock directly conflicts with the Second District’s earlier opinion in Padrick. Again, in Padrick, the Second District, relying on prior opinions from the Florida Supreme Court, had stated “[t]he constitutional and statutory provisions concerning homesteads should be interpreted in the liberal and beneficent spirit in which they were conceived and enacted in the interest of the family home.”23

It does not appear that the First District has attempted to create a volte face on the issue of statutory construction, especially when doing so would create a conflict with holdings of the Florida Supreme Court and other district courts. The authors respectfully submit that Haddock may be harmonized with other cases interpreting homestead. Put simply, Haddock should be read as a case where the sheer weight of the evidence mandated the revocation of homestead. However, as illustrated in Haddock, it can be said that therental statute is ambiguous as it fails to provide definitions for the terms “rental” and “entire dwelling.”

Rental v. License
The rental statute uses the specific term “rental.” The term “rental” is a legal term of art which describes the act of granting possession of the property to another. In Florida, a rental is treated as being virtually identical to a lease.24 As such, an argument could be made that the rental statute is not triggered when an owner allows an individual to stay on the property in which no residential tenancy has been created. For example, an owner may elect to issue a lesser form of permission to a guest by way of a license agreement. In the lease or rental paradigm, the owner and the tenant execute an agreement which gives the lessee or tenant exclusive use and possession of the premises for a set period of time.25 contrast, a license agreement gives the licensee or guest a privilege to enter upon the premises. Generally, licenses are revocable upon relatively short notice, disclaim the creation of a tenancy, and reserve to the owner a co-terminus right of access and entry to the premises.26 The distinction between leases and licenses in application to a property tax case recently came to light in the case of Turner v. Florida State Fair Authority, 974 So. 2d 470 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

In Turner, the Florida State Fair Authority maintained tax-exempt status over certain parcels utilized for state fairs.27 The State Fair Authority entered into an agreement with a truck driving school to utilize the property when fairs were not being held.28 While the property appraiser argued that the lease to a private party terminated the tax-exempt status of the property,29 the Second District Court of Appeal disagreed and concluded that it was a license.30 The Second District held:

We conclude that the [a]greement is a license, not a lease. A license does not confer an interest in the land but merely gives the licensee the authority to do a particular act on another’s land. The distinction between the rights of a lessee and those of a licensee is as follows: A tenant under a lease is one who has been given possession of land which is “exclusive even of the landlord except as the lease permits his entry, and saving always the landlord’s right to enter to demand rent or to make repairs.” A licensee is one who has a “mere permission to use the land, dominion over it remaining in the owner and no interest in or exclusive possession of it being given” to the occupant.31

To date, the authors note that no case has squarely addressed whether a license agreement triggers the rental statute. Nevertheless, on the basis of Turner, practitioners should consider minimizing their client’s exposure to the loss of homestead by carefully structuring agreements in a manner that disclaims tenancy and creates a license as opposed to a lease or rental.

Entire Dwelling
The rental statute does not explicitly define what constitutes the “entire dwelling” of one’s homestead. Again, the Haddock court held that excluding two closets from a rental did not preserve homestead.32 In reaching this conclusion, the First District rejected giving the term “entire dwelling” its literal meaning.33 The First District reasoned that the literal meaning could lead to absurd results whereby the homeowner avoids application of the rental statute by excluding a de minimus portion of his or her property from rental.34 However, it does not appear that the First District intended to simply ignore the words “entire dwelling,” as doing so would contravene a seminal rule of statutory construction requiring courts to give meaning to each word.35

contrast, the tenor of the opinion suggests that the court did not want to reward a property owner who, in all respects, appeared to have abandoned homestead.36 In particular, the owner’s unit was located on Amelia Island, which is commonly understood to be a resort-oriented community.37 Second, the owner’s unit was placed into a corporate rental pool, and the owner had to act affirmatively to withdraw the unit for his personal use.38 Last, the owner locked off two closets, which again the court appears to have treated as a de minimis amount of space.39 As such, the First District refused to allow the homeowner to hang his hat on the singular argument that because a closet was locked off to tenants, the “entire dwelling” was not rented and, therefore, homestead was saved.

To harmonize Haddock with past homestead jurisprudence, the authors submit that Haddock should be viewed as providing a baseline. In particular, “entire dwelling” does not mean two closets where the totality of the circumstances militate against homestead (e.g., the presence of a corporate rental pool and the property’s location in a resort community). However, moving beyond the baseline, it is important to note that the term “entire dwelling” should be given its ordinary meaning. The question necessarily becomes whether “entire dwelling” means the living areas of the house (e.g., bedrooms) or if it simply means more than a de minimus amount of space.

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “entire” to mean “having no element or part left out,” “complete in degree,” “total,” or “consisting of one piece.” The authors are cognizant of the First District’s admonition against reading the rental statute too literally. However, the legislature has generously defined the term “dwelling” in at least two other sections of the Florida Statutes, and those definitions include the porch and curtialige of the property.40

Reading the terms “entire” and “dwelling” together, a good faith argument could be made that so long as the portion excluded is not de minimus, the rental statute should not apply. In this respect, Padrick and its progeny are instructive. In particular, the authors submit that the area and possessions excluded from rental should evince the owner’s intent to return to the home. Therefore, leaving only a small amount of clothing and personal effects in a limited area may militate in favor of finding for abandonment. In contrast, the owner who leaves the bulk of his or her possessions on site and locks such possessions in large walk-in closets could be viewed as maintaining an intent to return sufficient to defeat a claim of abandonment.

Although such a conclusion finds support in cases predating Haddock, it is expected that property appraisers will argue for a more stringent application of Haddock,and practitioners are again cautioned that courts render decisions on such matters on a case-by-case basis.

The authors believe that in the coming years, property appraisers will aggressively pursue the removal of homestead in which the homeowner has engaged in rental. However, the rental statute is ambiguous and does not provide homeowners with adequate guidance in terms of the nature of rentals and whether the entire dwelling must be rented. These ambiguities have been compounded by the First District’s decision in Haddock which superficially purports to unwind long-standing precedent from the Florida Supreme Court.41 Although Haddock can be harmonized with past precedent, the rental statute, coupled with a literal reading of the Haddock opinion, creates a series of problems for homeowners. Moreover, the problem is not limited to the wealthy, but creates a lack of rental opportunities for individuals who cannot afford a home.42

The authors believe an overhaul of the statute would be in order for the purpose of codifying long-standing notions of protection and preservation of the family home. More specifically, the authors respectfully submit that the rental statute should be amended to address the following issues when considering whether a homestead has been abandoned through rental: 1) The property appraiser’s burden of proving the rental constituted an abandonment (once the owner has already qualified for the homestead exemption); 2) the definition of the term “rental”; 3) the definition of the phrase “entire dwelling”; 4) a list of factors which shall be considered by the property appraiser in determining whether the property owner has demonstrated an intent to return to the home; and 5) additional guidelines on some type of meaningful investigation which must be completed prior to the revocation of a property owner’s established homestead exemption.

Given the current economic climate, in which Floridians may, in some instances, be compelled to offer their homes for short-term or seasonal rentals in order to keep their homes, it would seem unjust to require the burden to fall on the homeowner after they have already established homestead. Rather, it would seem more appropriate to set specific guidelines for property appraisers so they are better equipped to make a determination that the property owner actually intended to abandon their homestead through rental. A legislative clarification would simply re-enforce the deference given to homeowners by the Florida Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in which the established right to homestead has been questioned.

1 See Fla. Stat. §196.012(13) (“Real estate used and owned as a ‘homestead’ means real property to the extent provided in s. 6(a), [a]rt. VII of the State Constitution, but less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes, with the title of such property being recorded in the official records of the county in which the property is located. Property rented for more than six months is presumed to be used for commercial purposes.”).

2 See generally Poppell v. Padrick, 117 So. 2d 435 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1959); Jacksonville v. Bailey, 30 So. 2d 529 (Fla. 1947). It should be noted that members of the armed forces who rent the homesteaded property due to active duty were deemed not to have involuntarily abandoned their homestead. See L’Engle v. Forbes, 81 So. 2d 214 (Fla. 1955).

3 See, e.g., Jacksonville v. Bailey, 30 So. 2d 529 (Fla. 1947) (holding that homestead was not abandoned where the property owner resided in home for six years; the owner rented the home out during the winter season; and during the course of the rental, left his personal items on the property). See also Poppell v. Padrick, 117 So. 2d 435 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1959) (holding that a property owner who rented his home during the winter months; over the course of several years to live with his widowed mother; and maintained his personal property in the homesteaded property did not abandon homestead). See also Florida Att’y Gen. Op. 058-229 (property owner who rents a home in another county for work purposes did not abandon homestead where property owner had maintained homesteaded address for voter registration and voted in the subject county).

4 Id.

5 Fla. Stat. §196.061 (1996).

6 Id. Moreover, the rental statute does not apply to members of the armed services. See id.

7 Fla. Const. art. VII, §6(a) (“Every person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains there on the permanent residence of the owner, or another legally or naturally dependant upon the owner, shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of $25,000.00 and, for all levies other than school district levies, on the assess evaluation greater than $50,000.00 and up to $75,000.00, upon establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law….”).

8 See Horne v. Markham, 288 So. 2d 196 (Fla. 1973) (holding that Fla. Const. art. VII, §6 does not establish an absolute right to a homestead exemption, but rather, provides that taxpayers who otherwise qualify shall be granted an exemption only upon “establishment of the right thereto in the manner prescribed by law”).

9 Fla. Stat. §196.011.

10 Fla. Stat. §196.015.

11 Id.

12 See Capital City Country Club, Inc. v. Tucker, 613 So. 2d 448, 452 (Fla. 1993); DeQuervain v. Desguin, 927 So. 2d 232 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 2006); see also Parrish v. Pier Club Apts. LLC, 900 So. 2d 683, 685 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2005) (“[S]tatutes providing for an exemption from ad valorem tax are to be strictly construed, and any ambiguity is to be resolved against the taxpayer and against exemption.”). Presumably, nonconstitutional exemptions are construed against the property owner because of the paramount public policy concern placed on the collection of ad valorem property taxes in a state that does not have an income tax. Statutory construction against property owners has also occurred in cases where the property owner is in the qualification or application phase for homestead.

13 DeQuervain, 927 So. 2d 232 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 2006) (holding that an alien without a visa did not establish requisite intent to maintain homestead during qualification phase, despite the facts that the homeowners had immigrated from Switzerland, resided legally in Florida, lived and worked in the county for at least five years, held Social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses, and paid federal income tax).

14 See O’Neal v. Miller, 196 So. 478 (Fla. 1940). It should be noted that the rule of strict interpretation will not apply when homestead is being used to perpetuate a fraud against a creditor. See In re Fin. Federated Title & Trust v. Levy, 273 B.R. 706, 713 (S.D. FL 2001). See also Colwell v. Royal International Trading Corp., 226 B.R. 714 (S.D. FL 1998) (when a creditor objected to separate homestead exemptions claimed by a separated husband and wife, the court concluded that an estranged couple living separately for an extended period of time in different residences deeded to them in their individual capacities were each entitled to claim separate homestead exemption). See also Monson v. First National Bank of Bradenton, 497 F.2d 135 (5th Cir. 1974) (reversing a bankruptcy referee’s finding of abandonment when a husband and wife lived outside of Florida while they were attempting to resolve marital difficulties). See also Nova v. Amerisource Corp., 860 So. 2d 506 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 2003).

15 Havoco, 790 So. 2d at 1021. It should be noted that the rule of strict interpretation will not apply when homestead is being used to perpetuate a fraud against a creditor. See In re Fin. Federated Title & Trust, 273 B.R. 706, 713 (S.D. FL 2001). See also Colwell, 226 B.R. 714 (S.D. FL 1998). See also Monson, 497 F.2d 135 (5th Cir. 1974); Nova, 860 So. 2d 506 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 2003).

16 Padrick, 117 So. 2d at 436.

17 Id. at 437; see also Miller v. West Palm Beach Atlantic Nat’l Bank, 194 So. 230, 231 (1940);Fla. Att’y Gen. Ops. 79-50 (1979), 74-115 (1974), and 76-177 (1976).

18 Padrick, 117 So. 2d at 437. Although discussed more fully later, it should be noted that there is a newly emerged split between the First and Second districts regarding the burden of proof in a case pertaining to rental abandonment.

19 Haddock, 1 So. 3d at 1137-38.

20 Id. at 1137.

21 Id. Note that the rental program records reflected that the property owner’s unit was only rented for 113 nights in 2003, 104 nights in 2004, and
66 nights in 2005 (which equates to less than 20 percent of the entire year).

22 Haddock, 1 So. 3d at 1137-38.

23 Padrick, 117 So. 2d at 437 (emphasis added).

24 The terms “rental” and “lease” are closely related but have historic differences which have become blurred in modern times. Leases were viewed as a form of rental whereby the term of the tenancy is established. contrast, a rental would not have had a set term and could have been day-to-day or month-to-month. In common parlance, the distinction has generally been lost, and the terms “rental” and “lease” are now used interchangeably. For example, see Fla. Stat. §212.02(10)(g), which groups the terms together in terms of triggering sales tax. See also Fla. Stat. Ch. 83, which establishes the rights and obligations between tenants and landlords. Moreover, “rental agreements” as set forth in Ch. 83 establish residential tenancies.

25 The authors note that Ch. 196 of the Florida Statutes provides that “property rented for more than [six] months is presumed to be used for commercial purposes.” See Fla. Stat. §196.012(13). The authors believe this section further illustrates that periods shorter than six months (which are typical of seasonal or short-term licensing or rental situations), may not necessarily trigger the rental statute.

26 The Florida Legislature demonstrated that it understands the distinction between licenses and rentals, as it has defined the terms differently in statute. See, e.g., Fla. Stat. §212.02(10)(g), which groups leases and rentals together. contrast, that same section defines a “license” to mean “the granting of a privilege to use or occupy a building or parcel of real property for any purpose.”

27 Turner, 974 So. 2d at 471.

28 Id.

29 Id. at 472.

30 Id. at 473.

31 Id. (emphasis added). The distinction between licenses and leases is important in cases assessing the liability of the owner for the injury of tenants as opposed to guests. See, e.g., Benton v. Morton & Furbish Agency, 929 A.2d 471 (Me. 2007), in which the Maine Supreme Court held that a two-week rental of a cottage constituted a license, not a lease. The court held, in pertinent part, that “[t]he limited two-week duration of the rental provides strong evidence for the conclusion that Blevins occupied the cottage pursuant to a license. Although a short rental term is not dispositive on the license or tenancy issue, it strongly suggests that the cottage rental was more akin to a place for travelers, lodgers, and transient guests, and did not convey a possessory interest in the land to another for a period of time.. . . The key to deciding whether there is a lease is whether the occupant is entitled to possession and exclusive occupancy of the premises. The family’s subjective belief that no one would interfere with their possession does not compel the conclusion that the family was entitled to legal possession. Based on the undisputed facts in this case, we conclude that the arrangement did not entitle the vacationing family to possession and exclusive occupancy of the premises.” Id. at 475 (emphasis added).

32 Haddock, 1 So. 3d at 1137-38.

33 Id. at 1137.

34 Id.

35 See Davis v. Florida Power Co., 60 So. 759, 765 (1913).

36 Haddock, 1 So. 3d at 1137.

37 See, e.g., Amelia Island Plantation: Florida’s Premier Island Resort,

38 Haddock, 1 So. 3d at 1134.

39 Id.

40 For example, in Fla. Stat. §776.013(5)(a) (emphasis added), the Florida Legislature defines the term “dwelling” to mean: “a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging there at night.” In Fla. Stat. §810.011(2) (emphasis added), the Florida Legislature defined the term to mean: “a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether such building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the curtilage thereof.”

41 See generally O’Neal, 196 So. at 478-79; Havoco, 790 So. 2d at 1021; Bailey, 30 So. 2d at 530.

42 The authors submit that a construction of the rental statute against the property owner disincentivizes rental activity, whether it be of luxury homes and condominiums, to small starter homes for teachers, police officers, or low-income families. Although housing prices have dropped considerably, the promise of home ownership remains elusive due to increasingly cumbersome lender restrictions. Moreover, existing tenants have lost the benefit of their existing leases due to the recent wave of foreclosures. Therefore, low-to-middle income families will suffer under a strained reading of Haddock. Amy Hoak, Housing Affordability: Rents in Florida, Homes More Affordable in Most Cities, Market Watch (May 7, 2009).

Mark A. Rothenberg is a land use and planning attorney. He is in-house counsel to the Southern California Edison Company, and his prior experience includes having represented developers, property owners, and local governments in all manner of real estate and development-related issues in Florida and California. Mr. Rothenberg received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law, where he served on law review.

Kara L. Cannizzaro is a land use and planning attorney with Siemon & Larsen, P.A. Ms. Cannizzaro has represented developers, local governments, and property owners in various development and real estate matters. Ms. Cannizzaro received her J.D. from Florida State University, where she was a member of the Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, as well as the Journal of Transnational Law and Policy.

The authors thank Charlie Siemon, Wendy Larsen, Beth Gaylord, Jim Lehrer, Ann Cohn, and Al Garcia for their dedication and support.

This column is submitted on behalf of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, John B. Neukamm, chair, and Richard R. Gans and William P. Sklar, editors.

Real Property, Probate and Trust Law