Court shields UF student housing from property taxes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rejecting arguments from the Alachua County property appraiser, an appeals court Thursday ruled that a housing complex for University of Florida graduate and professional students is exempt from property taxes.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by a circuit judge about the property known as The Continuum.

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The case centered, at least in part, on the relationship between a private company and the university in owning and operating the housing complex.

The firm Provident Group-Continuum Properties, LLC owns title to the complex and operates it for the university as student housing.

The company’s “sole member” is the non-profit Provident Resources Group, Inc., according to the ruling.

Alachua County Property Appraiser Ed Crapo contended that the property should be subject to property taxes.

But the appeals court said it rejected Crapo’s “attempt to diminish the importance of the benefit UF is receiving from the project.”

The 10-page ruling, written by Judge Joseph Lewis and joined by judges Timothy Osterhaus and Ross Bilbrey, said “UF was given the right to approve project plans, use, financing, operations, and rental terms for the project. UF allows the project to use its name and affiliation to attract tenants, and it provides services on-site. When the project’s repayment obligations are satisfied, UF is entitled to legal title without payment. UF would also be entitled to compensation in any condemnation proceedings once any remaining repayment obligations are paid. Moreover … the pertinent documents established the existence of a trust for UF’s benefit.”

News Service of Florida

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