Florida Senate - 2023                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 950
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Community Affairs (Rodriguez) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with directory and title amendments)
    3         Delete lines 89 - 471
    4  and insert:
    5  goals of the state’s energy and hurricane mitigation policies.
    6  All properties that are not using advanced technologies for
    7  wastewater removal contribute to the water quality problems
    8  affecting this state, particularly the coastal areas. Improved
    9  property that has been retrofitted with an advanced onsite
   10  sewage treatment and disposal system or has been converted to
   11  central sewerage significantly benefits the quality of water
   12  that may enter streams, lakes, rivers, aquifers, or coastal
   13  areas. All properties that are not protected from harmful
   14  environmental health hazards contribute to the environmental
   15  health burden affecting this state. Property that has been
   16  improved to mitigate against environmental health hazards
   17  benefits the general environmental health of people within this
   18  state.
   19         (c) In order to make qualifying improvements more
   20  affordable and assist property owners who wish to undertake such
   21  improvements, the Legislature finds that there is a compelling
   22  state interest in enabling property owners to voluntarily
   23  finance such improvements with local government assistance.
   24         (d)(c) The Legislature determines that the actions
   25  authorized under this section, including, but not limited to,
   26  the financing of qualifying improvements through the execution
   27  of assessment financing agreements and the related imposition of
   28  voluntary assessments, are reasonable and necessary to serve and
   29  achieve a compelling state interest and are necessary for the
   30  prosperity and welfare of the state and its property owners and
   31  inhabitants.
   32         (2) As used in this section, the term:
   33         (a)“Assessment financing agreement” means the financing
   34  agreement, under a REEF program, between a local government and
   35  a property owner for the acquisition or installation of
   36  qualifying improvements.
   37         (b) “Financing agreement” means an agreement, under a
   38  qualifying improvement program, between a local government and a
   39  property owner to finance the acquisition or installation of
   40  qualifying improvements through a non-ad valorem assessment.
   41         (c)(a) “Local government” means a county, a municipality, a
   42  dependent special district as defined in s. 189.012, or a
   43  separate legal entity created pursuant to s. 163.01(7).
   44         (d)“Non-ad valorem assessment” or “assessment” has the
   45  same meaning as the term “non-ad valorem assessment” as defined
   46  in s. 197.3632(1)(d).
   47         (e)“Nonresidential real property” means any property not
   48  defined as residential real property, including, but not limited
   49  to:
   50         1.Agricultural real property.
   51         2.Commercial real property.
   52         3. Industrial real property.
   53         4.Office real property.
   54         5. Multifamily residential real property composed of five
   55  or more dwelling units.
   56         (f)“Program administrator” means an entity, including, but
   57  not limited to, a for-profit or not-for-profit entity, with
   58  which a local government may contract to administer all or part
   59  of a qualifying improvement program under this section.
   60         (g)(b) “Qualifying improvement” means a program established
   61  under this section by a local government, alone or in
   62  partnership with other local governments or a program
   63  administrator, to finance qualifying improvements on real
   64  property and includes any:
   65         1. Energy conservation and efficiency improvement, which is
   66  a measure to reduce consumption through conservation or a more
   67  efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, or other
   68  forms of energy on the property, including, but not limited to,
   69  air sealing; installation of insulation; installation of energy
   70  efficient heating, cooling, or ventilation systems; building
   71  modifications to increase the use of daylight; replacement of
   72  windows; installation of energy controls or energy recovery
   73  systems; installation of electric vehicle charging equipment;
   74  and installation of efficient lighting equipment.
   75         2. Renewable energy improvement, which is the installation
   76  of any system in which the electrical, mechanical, or thermal
   77  energy is produced from a method that uses one or more of the
   78  following fuels or energy sources: hydrogen, solar energy,
   79  geothermal energy, bioenergy, and wind energy.
   80         3. Wind resistance improvement, which includes, but is not
   81  limited to:
   82         a. Improving the strength of the roof deck attachment;
   83         b. Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water
   84  intrusion;
   85         c. Installing wind-resistant shingles;
   86         d. Installing gable-end bracing;
   87         e. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections;
   88         f. Installing storm shutters; or
   89         g. Installing opening protections.
   90         4. Wastewater improvement, which includes, but is not
   91  limited to:
   92         a. The removal, replacement, or improvement of an onsite
   93  sewage treatment and disposal system with a secondary or
   94  advanced onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or
   95  technology;
   96         b. The replacement or conversion of an onsite sewage
   97  treatment and disposal system to a central sewerage system or
   98  distributed sewerage system, including, but not limited to, the
   99  installation of a sewer lateral and anything necessary to
  100  connect the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or the
  101  building’s plumbing to a central sewerage system or distributed
  102  sewerage system; or
  103         c. Any removal, repairs, or modifications made to an onsite
  104  sewage treatment and disposal system, including any repair,
  105  modification, or replacement of a system required under a local
  106  ordinance enacted pursuant to ss. 381.0065 and 381.00651.
  107         5. Flood and water damage mitigation and resiliency
  108  improvement, which includes, but is not limited to, projects and
  109  installation for:
  110         a. The raising of a structure above the base flood
  111  elevation to reduce flood damage;
  112         b.A flood diversion apparatus or sea wall improvement,
  113  which includes seawall repairs and seawall replacements;
  114         c. Flood-damage-resistant building materials;
  115         d. Electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or other system
  116  improvements that reduce flood damage; or
  117         e. Other improvements that qualify for reductions in flood
  118  insurance premiums.
  119         6. Environmental health improvement, which is an
  120  improvement or measure intended to mitigate harmful
  121  environmental health effects to property occupants, including,
  122  but not limited to, measures that do any of the following:
  123         a. Mitigate the presence of lead, heavy metals,
  124  polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination, or other harmful
  125  contaminants in potable water systems, such as conversion of
  126  well water to municipal water systems, replacing lead water
  127  service lines, or installing water filters;
  128         b. Mitigate lead paint contamination in housing built
  129  before 1978; or
  130         c. Mitigate indoor air pollution or contaminants, such as
  131  particulate matter, viruses, bacteria, and mold.
  132         (h) “Residential real property” means a residential real
  133  property composed of four or fewer dwelling units.
  134         (i)“Resiliency Energy Environment Florida (REEF) program”
  135  means a program established by a local government, alone or in
  136  partnership with other local governments or a program
  137  administrator, to finance qualifying improvements on
  138  nonresidential real property or residential real property.
  139         (4) Subject to local government ordinance or resolution, a
  140  property owner may apply to the REEF program local government
  141  for funding to finance a qualifying improvement and enter into
  142  an assessment a financing agreement with the local government.
  143  Costs incurred by the REEF program local government for such
  144  purpose may be collected as a non-ad valorem assessment. A non
  145  ad valorem assessment shall be collected pursuant to s. 197.3632
  146  and, notwithstanding s. 197.3632(8)(a), shall not be subject to
  147  discount for early payment. However, the notice and adoption
  148  requirements of s. 197.3632(4) do not apply if this section is
  149  used and complied with, and the intent resolution, publication
  150  of notice, and mailed notices to the property appraiser, tax
  151  collector, and Department of Revenue required by s.
  152  197.3632(3)(a) may be provided on or before August 15 in
  153  conjunction with any non-ad valorem assessment authorized by
  154  this section, if the property appraiser, tax collector, and
  155  local government agree.
  156         (6) A local government may enter into an agreement with a
  157  program administrator to administer a REEF program on behalf of
  158  the local government A qualifying improvement program may be
  159  administered by a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit
  160  organization on behalf of and at the discretion of the local
  161  government.
  162         (7) A local government may incur debt for the purpose of
  163  providing financing for qualifying such improvements, which debt
  164  is payable from revenues received from the improved property, or
  165  from any other available revenue source authorized under this
  166  section or by other law.
  167         (8) A local government may enter into an assessment a
  168  financing agreement to finance or refinance a qualifying
  169  improvement only with the record owner of the affected property.
  170  Any assessment financing agreement entered into pursuant to this
  171  section or a summary memorandum of such agreement shall be
  172  submitted for recording recorded in the public records of the
  173  county within which the property is located by the sponsoring
  174  unit of local government within 10 5 days after execution of the
  175  agreement. The recorded agreement shall provide constructive
  176  notice that the assessment to be levied on the property
  177  constitutes a lien of equal dignity to county taxes and
  178  assessments from the date of recordation. A notice of lien for
  179  the full amount of the financing may be recorded in the public
  180  records of the county where the property is located. Such lien
  181  is not enforceable in a manner that results in the acceleration
  182  of the remaining nondelinquent unpaid balance under the
  183  assessment financing agreement.
  184         (9) Before entering into an assessment a financing
  185  agreement, the local government, or the program administrator
  186  acting on its behalf, shall reasonably determine that all of the
  187  following conditions are met:
  188         (a) All property taxes and any other assessments levied on
  189  the same bill as property taxes are current paid and have not
  190  been delinquent for more than 30 days for the preceding 3 years
  191  or the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less.;
  192         (b)that There are no involuntary liens greater than
  193  $1,000, including, but not limited to, construction liens on the
  194  property.;
  195         (c)that No notices of default or other evidence of
  196  property-based debt delinquency have been recorded and not
  197  released during the preceding 3 years or the property owner’s
  198  period of ownership, whichever is less.;
  199         (d)The local government or program administrator has asked
  200  the property owner whether any other assessments under this
  201  section have been recorded or have been funded and not yet
  202  recorded on the property. The failure of a property owner to
  203  disclose information set forth in this paragraph does not
  204  invalidate an assessment financing agreement or any obligation
  205  thereunder, even if the total financed amount of the qualifying
  206  improvements exceeds the amount that would otherwise be
  207  authorized under paragraph (12)(a).
  208         (e)and that The property owner is current on all mortgage
  209  debt on the property.
  210         (f)The residential property is not subject to an existing
  211  home equity conversion mortgage or reverse mortgage product.
  212  This paragraph does not apply to nonresidential real property.
  213         (g)The property is not currently a residential property
  214  gifted to a homeowner for free by a nonprofit entity as may be
  215  disclosed by the property owner. The failure of a property owner
  216  to disclose information set forth in this paragraph does not
  217  invalidate an assessment financing agreement or any obligation
  218  thereunder. This paragraph does not apply to nonresidential real
  219  property.
  220         (10) Before final funding may be provided, a qualifying
  221  improvement must shall be affixed or planned to be affixed to a
  222  nonresidential real property or residential real building or
  223  facility that is part of the property and constitutes shall
  224  constitute an improvement to that property the building or
  225  facility or a fixture attached to the building or facility. An
  226  assessment financing agreement may between a local government
  227  and a qualifying property owner may not cover qualifying wind
  228  resistance improvements on nonresidential real property under
  229  new construction or residential real property in buildings or
  230  facilities under new construction or construction for which a
  231  certificate of occupancy or similar evidence of substantial
  232  completion of new construction or improvement has not been
  233  issued.
  234         (11) Any work requiring a license under any applicable law
  235  to make a qualifying improvement shall be performed by a
  236  contractor properly certified or registered pursuant to part I
  237  or part II of chapter 489, as applicable.
  238         (12)(a) Without the consent of the holders or loan
  239  servicers of any mortgage encumbering or otherwise secured by
  240  the property, the total amount of any non-ad valorem assessment
  241  for a property under this section may not exceed 20 percent of
  242  the fair market just value of the real property as determined by
  243  the county property appraiser. The combined mortgage-related
  244  debt and total amount of any non-ad valorem assessments funded
  245  under this section for residential real property may not exceed
  246  100 percent of the fair market value of the residential real
  247  property. However, the failure of a property owner to disclose
  248  information set forth in paragraph (9)(d) does not invalidate an
  249  assessment financing agreement or any obligation thereunder,
  250  even if the total financed amount of the qualifying improvements
  251  exceeds the amount that would otherwise be authorized under this
  252  paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, fair market value may
  253  be determined using reputable third parties.
  254         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a non-ad valorem
  255  assessment for a qualifying improvement defined in subparagraph
  256  (2)(g)1. (2)(b)1. or subparagraph (2)(g)2. which (2)(b)2. that
  257  is supported by an energy audit is not subject to the limits in
  258  this subsection if the audit demonstrates that the annual energy
  259  savings from the qualified improvement equals or exceeds the
  260  annual repayment amount of the non-ad valorem assessment.
  261         (13) At least 30 days before entering into an assessment a
  262  financing agreement, the property owner shall provide to the
  263  holders or loan servicers of any existing mortgages encumbering
  264  or otherwise secured by the property a notice of the owner’s
  265  intent to enter into an assessment a financing agreement
  266  together with the maximum principal amount to be financed and
  267  the maximum annual assessment necessary to repay that amount. A
  268  verified copy or other proof of such notice shall be provided to
  269  the local government. A provision in any agreement between a
  270  mortgagee or other lienholder and a property owner, or otherwise
  271  now or hereafter binding upon a property owner, which allows for
  272  acceleration of payment of the mortgage, note, or lien or other
  273  unilateral modification solely as a result of entering into an
  274  assessment a financing agreement as provided for in this section
  275  is not enforceable. This subsection does not limit the authority
  276  of the holder or loan servicer to increase the required monthly
  277  escrow by an amount necessary to annually pay the annual
  278  qualifying improvement assessment.
  279         (14) At or before the time a seller purchaser executes a
  280  contract for the sale and purchase of any property for which a
  281  non-ad valorem assessment has been levied under this section and
  282  has an unpaid balance due, the seller must shall give the
  283  prospective purchaser a written disclosure statement in the
  284  following form, which shall be set forth in the contract or in a
  285  separate writing:
  290         HEALTH OR WIND RESISTANCE.—The property being
  291         purchased is located within the jurisdiction of a
  292         local government that has placed an assessment on the
  293         property pursuant to s. 163.08, Florida Statutes. The
  294         assessment is for a qualifying improvement to the
  295         property relating to energy efficiency, renewable
  296         energy, or wind resistance, and is not based on the
  297         value of property. This agreement uses a program
  298         formerly referred to as Property Assessed Clean
  299         Energy, or PACE. You are encouraged to contact the
  300         county property appraiser’s office to learn more about
  301         this and other assessments that may be provided by
  302         law.
  304         (16)(a)Before final approval of an assessment financing
  305  agreement for a qualifying improvement on a residential real
  306  property, a program administrator shall reasonably determine
  307  that the property owner has the ability to pay the estimated
  308  annual assessment. To do so, the program administrator shall, at
  309  a minimum, use the underwriting requirements in subsection (9),
  310  confirm that the property owner is not in bankruptcy, and
  311  determine that the total estimated annual payment amount for all
  312  assessment financing agreements funded under this section on the
  313  property does not exceed 10 percent of the property owner’s
  314  annual household income. Income may be confirmed using
  315  information gathered from reputable third parties that provide
  316  reasonably reliable evidence of the property owner’s household
  317  income. Income may not be confirmed solely by a property owner’s
  318  statement.
  319         (b) In the event that a court or tribunal determines, by
  320  clear and convincing evidence, that the program administrator’s
  321  determination of the property owner’s ability to pay was not
  322  objectively reasonable based on the information provided by the
  323  property owner, the yearly assessment payment shall be reduced
  324  in the amount which is within the property owner’s ability to
  325  pay. This paragraph does not require or authorize the
  326  administrator to reduce the amount owed on the assessment.
  327         (c) The failure of a property owner to disclose information
  328  set forth in paragraph (9)(d) does not invalidate an assessment
  329  financing agreement or any obligation thereunder, even if the
  330  total estimated annual payment amount exceeds the amount that
  331  would otherwise be authorized under this subsection.
  332         (17)Before or contemporaneously with a property owner
  333  signing an assessment financing agreement on a residential real
  334  property, the program administrator shall provide a financing
  335  estimate and disclosure to the residential real property owner
  336  which includes all of the following:
  337         (a)The total amount estimated to be funded, including the
  338  cost of the qualifying improvements, program fees, and
  339  capitalized interest, if any.
  340         (b)The estimated annual assessment.
  341         (c)The term of the assessment.
  342         (d)The interest charged and estimated annual percentage
  343  rate.
  344         (e)A description of the qualifying improvement.
  345         (f)A disclosure that if the property owner sells or
  346  refinances the property, the property owner, as a condition of
  347  the sale or the refinance, may be required by a mortgage lender
  348  to pay off the full amount owed under each assessment financing
  349  agreement.
  350         (g)A disclosure that the assessment will be collected
  351  along with the property owner’s property taxes and will result
  352  in a lien on the property from the date the assessment financing
  353  agreement is recorded.
  354         (h)A disclosure that failure to pay the assessment may
  355  result in penalties and fees, along with the issuance of a tax
  356  certificate that could result in the property owner losing the
  357  real property.
  358         (18)Before a notice to proceed is issued on residential
  359  real property, the program administrator shall conduct with the
  360  residential real property owner or an authorized representative
  361  an oral, recorded telephone call. The program administrator
  362  shall ask the residential real property owner if he or she would
  363  like to communicate primarily in a language other than English.
  364  A program administrator may not leave a voicemail on the
  365  residential real property owner’s or authorized representative’s
  366  telephone to satisfy this requirement. A program administrator,
  367  as part of such telephone call, shall confirm all of the
  368  following with the residential real property owner:
  369         (a)That at least one residential real property owner has
  370  access to a copy of the assessment financing agreement and
  371  financing estimates and disclosures.
  372         (b)The qualifying improvements being financed.
  373         (c)The total estimated annual costs that the residential
  374  real property owner will have to pay under the assessment
  375  financing agreement, including applicable fees.
  376         (d)The total estimated average monthly equivalent amount
  377  of funds the residential real property owner would have to save
  378  in order to pay the annual costs of the assessment, including
  379  applicable fees.
  380         (e)The estimated due date of the residential real property
  381  owner’s first property tax payment that includes the assessment
  382  will be due.
  383         (f)The term of the assessment financing agreement.
  384         (g)That payments for the assessment financing agreement
  385  will cause the residential real property owner’s annual property
  386  tax bill to increase, and that payments will be made through an
  387  additional annual assessment on the property and either will be
  388  paid directly to the county tax collector’s office as part of
  389  the total annual secured property tax bill or may be paid
  390  through the residential real property owner’s mortgage escrow
  391  account.
  392         (h)That the residential real property owner has disclosed
  393  whether the property has received, or the owner is seeking,
  394  additional assessments funded under this section and that the
  395  owner has disclosed all other assessments funded under this
  396  section which are or are about to be placed on the property.
  397         (i)That the property will be subject to a lien during the
  398  term of the assessment financing agreement and that the
  399  obligations under the agreement may be required to be paid in
  400  full before the residential real property owner sells or
  401  refinances the property.
  402         (j)That any potential utility or insurance savings are not
  403  guaranteed and will not reduce the assessment or total
  404  assessment amount.
  405         (k)That the program administrator does not provide tax
  406  advice, and the residential real property owner should seek
  407  professional tax advice if he or she has questions regarding tax
  408  credits, tax deductibility, or other tax impacts of the
  409  qualifying improvement or the assessment financing agreement.
  410         (19)A residential real property owner may cancel an
  411  assessment financing agreement within 3 business days after
  412  signing the assessment financing agreement without any financial
  413  penalty from the program administrator for doing so.
  414         (20)The term of an assessment financing agreement on
  415  residential real property may not exceed the lesser of:
  416         (a)Thirty years; or
  417         (b)The greater of either the weighted average estimated
  418  useful life of all qualifying improvements being financed or the
  419  estimated useful life of the qualifying improvements to which
  420  the greatest portion of funds is disbursed.
  421         (21)An assessment financing agreement authorized under
  422  this section on residential real property may not include any of
  423  the following financing terms:
  424         (a)A negative amortization schedule. Capitalized interest
  425  included in the original balance of the assessment financing
  426  agreement does not constitute negative amortization.
  427         (b)A balloon payment.
  428         (c)Prepayment fees, other than nominal administrative
  429  costs.
  430         (22)For residential real property, a program
  431  administrator:
  432         (a)May not enroll a contractor who contracts with
  433  residential real property owners to install qualifying
  434  improvements unless:
  435         1.The program administrator makes a reasonable effort to
  436  review that the contractor maintains in good standing an
  437  appropriate license from the state, if applicable, as well as
  438  any other permit, license, or registration required for engaging
  439  in business in the jurisdiction in which he or she operates and
  440  that the contractor maintains all state-required bond and
  441  insurance coverage; and
  442         2.The program administrator obtains the contractor’s
  443  written agreement that the contractor will act in accordance
  444  with all applicable laws, including applicable advertising and
  445  marketing laws and regulations.
  446         (b)Shall maintain a process to enroll new contractors
  447  which includes reasonable review of the following for each
  448  contractor:
  449         1.Relevant work or project history.
  450         2.Financial and reputational background checks.
  451         3.A criminal background check.
  452         4.Status on the Better Business Bureau online platform or
  453  another online platform that tracks contractor reviews.
  454         (c)A program administrator may pay or reimburse
  455  contractors for any expense allowable under applicable state law
  456  and not otherwise prohibited under this section, including, but
  457  not limited to, marketing, training, and promotions.
  458         (d) A program administrator may not disclose to a
  459  contractor or to a third party engaged in soliciting a financing
  460  agreement the maximum financing amount for which a residential
  461  real property owner is eligible.
  462         (23)Before disbursing funds to a contractor for a
  463  qualifying improvement on residential real property, a program
  464  administrator must first confirm that the applicable work or
  465  service has been completed through any of the following:
  466         (a)A written certification from the property owner;
  467         (b)A recorded telephone call with the property owner;
  468         (c)A review of geotagged and time-stamped photographs;
  469         (d)A review of a final permit; or
  470         (e)A site inspection through third-party means.
  472  ====== D I R E C T O R Y  C L A U S E  A M E N D M E N T ======
  473  And the directory clause is amended as follows:
  474         Delete lines 45 - 46
  475  and insert:
  476  section, and subsections (1), (2), (4), and (6) though (14) are
  477  amended, to read:
  479  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  480  And the title is amended as follows:
  481         Delete lines 3 - 4
  482  and insert:
  483         Florida programs; amending s. 163.08, F.S.; revising
  484         legislative intent; defining and revising terms;
  485         providing that a property owner may apply to a