The Real Deal Miami

Demolished 42 Star Island scores homestead exemption

Even though the house is gone, owners claim property as their primary residence
March 31, 2014 03:00PM

42 Star Island

42 Star Island

Legally speaking, you don’t necessarily need to live at your home to claim a homestead exemption. Case in point: 42 Star Island.

Preservationists lost the fight to save the 89-year-old mansion from a celebrity couple set on demolishing it. And last week, the home was finally destroyed. But that hasn’t kept the owners, Leonard and Lisa Hochstein —a plastic surgeon known as the “boob god,” and a cast member of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Miami” — from claiming it as their primary residence for tax purposes.

In fact, the couple scored a $50,000 homestead exemption on the Star Island property, according to the Miami Herald.

“It’s an ‘all-the-facts-and-circumstances’ test,” said Tallahassee lawyer Tom Findley, who has represented the Florida Association of Property Appraisers. “You don’t necessarily have to reside there, but you do have to have the intent to make it your permanent residence.” [Miami Herald]Christopher Cameron