A Tale of Two Homes

Confusion has risen regarding the primary residence of Anne Seifert, a candidate for the District 5 Seal Beach City Council seat.

Seifert, who co-owns a home with her husband, Fred Hoyt, at 516 Agua Place in Seal Beach’s Marina Hill neighborhood in the Seal Beach Councilmanic District Three, says her primary residence is in the Seal Beach Leisure World apartment unit at 1562 Golden Rain Rd. 81-L, in District Five.

She also co-owns the Leisure World residence with her husband. Seal Beach residents may only run for a City Council seat within the district that is their primary residence.

Seifert said that while she is listed with the Orange County Registrar of Voters as having the Leisure World home as her primary residence, the Marina Hill house is her husband’s primary residence.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Seiferts received a $124,932 Disabled Veteran tax exemption on the Marina Hill home. The exemption is only allowed on one home – a person’s primary residence.

The confusion surrounds the fact that Seifert and her husband are listed as co-owners of the Marina Hill home on which the exemption was claimed.

“Yes, we are both owners of the ‘beach house’ and the Leisue World apartment, with rights of survivorship,” Seifert said. “My name is on the beach house because we both own the house, but it is not my primary residence. His name is on my Leisure World apartment because we are co-owners, but it is not his primary residence.  Any number of people can be listed as owners on real property, but it doesn’t mean that it is their primary residence.”

Seifert maintains the primary residence is what determines the tax exemption and a husband and wife can each have their own and separate home as a primary residence, and claim a tax exemption for that home which is their primary residence.

“You are correct that the beach house has to be your primary residence to claim the exemption,” Seifert said. “The error and the confusion stems from saying that the beach house is my primary residence. It is not. It is my husband’s primary residence and therefore he is eligible for the tax exemption.”

Seifert said people are confused because she and her husband have an unconventional relationship.

“I’m happy to report that my husband and I just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary and we are happily married,” Seifert said. “But, we are not the usual couple. We don’t have children. We lead relatively independent lives. We keep our money separate. We have separate names. We have lived apart and together at times depending on the circumstances. Since we are now only two miles apart, I see him as much as I can and vice-versa.

“We spend time on our boat, time at the hill house, but very seldom does he visit me at Leisure World, although we do have dinners at Leisure World, family celebrations at Leisure World, etc.  My sister also lives in Leisure World, so we get together for various reasons at various times. It’s just our lifestyle and one we’ve had for a very long time and works well for us.  I eat and sleep in both places. I know it’s difficult for many to understand since the traditional couple is ‘joined at the hip.’”

Seifert said the unusual arrangement has stood the test of time.

“I would say that we live together, by sharing space that is jointly owned in two different places with one partner having one space as his primary residence and the other partner having the other space as her primary residence. My husband is a non-resident co-owner of my Leisure World apartment. It’s that simple and absolutely legal.”

Seal Beach City Clerk Linda Devine said she did not know if the fact that both Hoyt and Seifert were listed as co-owners of the Marina Hill home’s tax exemption application meant that Seifert had to also claim the property was her primary residence.

“You have to ask the county assessor’s office,” she said.

According to the Orange County Assessor’s office, it does not matter how many people are listed on the title of a property for one of the owners to receive a Disabled Veteran tax exemption on the property, as long as it is the primary residence of the applicant. The assessor’s office said it could not release any information regarding the application submitted for the Disabled Veteran exemption on the Marina Hill home owned by Seifert and her husband.