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Date of Issue: October 21, 2009

Miller: home rental rumor comes from old Web ad

Former Anna Maria City Commissioner Duke Miller said he “meets all the requirements” to maintain a homesteaded house that he and his wife own on Fir Avenue in Anna Maria.

An advertisement for his house on the Web site RealAdventures.com is 10 years old, he said, and was done before he moved to the city permanently from St. Petersburg. At that time, the house was a two-bedroom unit that was rented to vacationers.

“It’s our former home” before it was remodeled and enlarged, he said, noting that the rate and date on the Web site is from 2000.

But the rumor that he has moved from Anna Maria and rents his house to vacationers continues to plague the former city commissioner.

“This is a recurring rumor that’s getting a life of its own,” Miller said.

“We vacation in North Carolina in the summer, are legally homesteaded in Florida, and meet all the requirements for same.

“Any activity at the house is our neighbors using our garage and/or ‘exercising’ our car while we’re away,” Miller concluded.

He indicated he would contact the Web site as soon as possible and have the ad removed.

Homesteaded rental risky business

Steve Tussing of the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office said homesteaded property owners “are allowed a one-time rental” of their house, but it is an “extremely confusing proposition.”

Many homeowners who rent their house “run afoul of the rules because they do not understand the criteria,” he said.

“My best advice is don’t rent out your home,” Tussing said.