A Sarasota, Fla. retiree, Joseph McCarthy, says the 12% increase in his home’s value as determined by the local property appraiser’s office after having his roof replaced told a reporter at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune he felt “cheated” out of protections in Florida's ‘Save Our Homes’ law.

The law, passed in 1992 by a voter referendum on amending the state constitution, capped increases in assessed values on homesteaded property at 3% per year. 

McCarthy said he received a 12% increase from the local property appraiser's office last summer, with the double-digit increase attributed to the roughly $60,000 cost of replacing a tile roof on his Sarasota County home.

In recent years, homeowners have been forced to replace roofs earlier than they otherwise would have to. Many attribute that to struggling insurance companies having pulled back coverage in the Sunshine State.

The discrepancy between the law and the increase has been attributed to how the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's Office interprets state law.

“I’m an 80-year-old resident of Sarasota, and I have a pension I received in 1994, and that pension today is still frozen at the same dollar amount," he was quoted as saying to the magistrate for the Sarasota County's Value Adjustment Board. 

"I don’t have any expectation that you are going to fix that for me, but that is a condition that I exist in this town, and I expect to be provided with the protections of Save Our Homes," McCarthy added.

The homeowner and his wife replaced the tile roof on their 3,125-square-foot home in 2022; the couple bought the property about 20 years ago.

Through the years, reports of a widening gap between the market value and the taxable value of homes have grown because of the Save Our Homes law, resulting in significantly lower property taxes. 

It was reported that a mediation session with the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's office after McCarthy filed an appeal of his property's 2023 valuation led to a reduction in the taxable value to a 7% year-over-year increase — after assessors accounted for the value of the removed roof, McCarthy said.

Save Our Homes does prevent increases due solely to market appreciation. Still, another paragraph in the statute regulating how property appraisers must do their job requires any "changes, additions, or improvements" to be assessed at full market value each year.