Paperwork glitch leading to tax, escrow increase may cost Miami-Dade resident his family home

A South Florida Air Force veteran and Pentagon 9-11 survivor fears he will soon lose his family’s home.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida Air Force veteran and Pentagon 9-11 survivor fears he will soon lose his family’s home.

Miami-Dade County suddenly raised his property taxes because of a mistake but refuses to back down.

Master Sgt. Steve Friedman and his family lived in their Miami-Dade home since 2006, and for all those years got his homestead exemption on his taxes. Until he didn’t anymore.

A paperwork glitch, one that he did everything he could to make it right, but the county won’t let him, and now he is in jeopardy of losing his family home.

Friedman’s packed garage screams long-time homeowner, and he has the receipts.

It’s all part of the documentation he has been supplying the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office since it suddenly ended his long-time homestead exemption, and his property taxes shot up.

The reason?

The property appraiser, after all this time, noticed Friedman still had his mother’s old address on his driver’s license, from 50 years ago when he was just leaving for his Air Force service.

He hadn’t appealed in time, and it gets worse.

Besides thousands more in annual property tax, the change tripped Friedman’s mortgage lender to charge another $800 a month for escrow.

“in which case we lose our house,” Friedman said. “I can’t make those payments, and this is all we have. This is all I have to show for a life of work.”

A man who has spent his life in service to his country, and legitimately spent the last 16 years with his family in their home.

“Am I legally entitled to a homestead exemption for this property? Do I live here? And the answer to that is yes,” he said.

Local 10 News contacted the Miami-Dade Property Appraisers Office. They emailed that they could not discuss the case because it is under investigation.

That came as news to Friedman because he said he got an email that the case was done and over two weeks ago.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."