Florida Senate - 2023                              CS for SB 950
       By the Committee on Community Affairs; and Senator Rodriguez
       578-02924-23                                           2023950c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to Resiliency Energy Environment
    3         Florida programs; amending s. 163.08, F.S.; revising
    4         legislative intent; defining and revising terms;
    5         providing that a property owner may apply to a
    6         Resiliency Energy Environment Florida (REEF) program
    7         for funding to finance a qualifying improvement and
    8         may enter into an assessment financing agreement with
    9         a local government; providing that REEF program costs
   10         may be collected as non-ad valorem assessments;
   11         authorizing a local government to enter into an
   12         agreement with a program administrator to administer a
   13         REEF program on the local government’s behalf;
   14         revising and specifying public recording requirements
   15         for assessment financing agreements and notices of
   16         lien; revising requirements that apply to local
   17         governments or program administrators in determining
   18         eligibility for assessment financing; revising
   19         requirements for qualifying improvements; revising the
   20         calculation of non-ad valorem assessment limits;
   21         providing construction; specifying underwriting,
   22         financing estimate, disclosure, and confirmation
   23         requirements for program administrators relating to
   24         residential real property; authorizing a residential
   25         real property owner, under certain circumstances and
   26         within a certain timeframe, to cancel an assessment
   27         financing agreement without financial penalty;
   28         specifying limitations on assessment financing
   29         agreement terms for residential real property;
   30         prohibiting certain financing terms for residential
   31         real property; specifying requirements for, and
   32         certain prohibited acts by, program administrators
   33         relating to assessment financing agreements and
   34         contractors for qualifying improvements to residential
   35         real property; specifying additional annual reporting
   36         requirements for program administrators; providing
   37         construction and applicability; conforming provisions
   38         to changes made by the act; providing an effective
   39         date.
   41  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   43         Section 1. Subsection (16) of section 163.08, Florida
   44  Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (32), a new subsection
   45  (16) and subsections (17) through (31) are added to that
   46  section, and subsections (1), (2), (4), and (6) though (14) are
   47  amended, to read:
   48         163.08 Supplemental authority for improvements to real
   49  property.—
   50         (1)(a) In chapter 2008-227, Laws of Florida, the
   51  Legislature amended the energy goal of the state comprehensive
   52  plan to provide, in part, that the state shall reduce its energy
   53  requirements through enhanced conservation and efficiency
   54  measures in all end-use sectors and reduce atmospheric carbon
   55  dioxide by promoting an increased use of renewable energy
   56  resources. That act also declared it the public policy of the
   57  state to play a leading role in developing and instituting
   58  energy management programs that promote energy conservation,
   59  energy security, and the reduction of greenhouse gases. In
   60  addition to establishing policies to promote the use of
   61  renewable energy, the Legislature provided for a schedule of
   62  increases in energy performance of buildings subject to the
   63  Florida Energy Efficiency Code for Building Construction. In
   64  chapter 2008-191, Laws of Florida, the Legislature adopted new
   65  energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction comprehensive
   66  planning requirements for local governments. In the 2008 general
   67  election, the voters of this state approved a constitutional
   68  amendment authorizing the Legislature, by general law, to
   69  prohibit consideration of any change or improvement made for the
   70  purpose of improving a property’s resistance to wind damage or
   71  the installation of a renewable energy source device in the
   72  determination of the assessed value of residential real
   73  property.
   74  (b) The Legislature finds that all energy-consuming-improved
   75  properties that are not using energy conservation strategies
   76  contribute to the burden affecting all improved property
   77  resulting from fossil fuel energy production. Improved property
   78  that has been retrofitted with energy-related qualifying
   79  improvements receives the special benefit of alleviating the
   80  property’s burden from energy consumption. All improved
   81  properties not protected from wind damage by wind resistance
   82  qualifying improvements contribute to the burden affecting all
   83  improved property resulting from potential wind damage. Improved
   84  property that has been retrofitted with wind resistance
   85  qualifying improvements receives the special benefit of reducing
   86  the property’s burden from potential wind damage. Further, the
   87  installation and operation of qualifying improvements not only
   88  benefit the affected properties for which the improvements are
   89  made, but also assist in fulfilling the goals of the state’s
   90  energy and hurricane mitigation policies. All properties that
   91  are not using advanced technologies for wastewater removal
   92  contribute to the water quality problems affecting this state,
   93  particularly the coastal areas. Improved property that has been
   94  retrofitted with an advanced onsite sewage treatment and
   95  disposal system or has been converted to central sewerage
   96  significantly benefits the quality of water that may enter
   97  streams, lakes, rivers, aquifers, or coastal areas. All
   98  properties that are not protected from harmful environmental
   99  health hazards contribute to the environmental health burden
  100  affecting this state. Property that has been improved to
  101  mitigate against environmental health hazards benefits the
  102  general environmental health of people within this state.
  103         (c) In order to make qualifying improvements more
  104  affordable and assist property owners who wish to undertake such
  105  improvements, the Legislature finds that there is a compelling
  106  state interest in enabling property owners to voluntarily
  107  finance such improvements with local government assistance.
  108         (d)(c) The Legislature determines that the actions
  109  authorized under this section, including, but not limited to,
  110  the financing of qualifying improvements through the execution
  111  of assessment financing agreements and the related imposition of
  112  voluntary assessments, are reasonable and necessary to serve and
  113  achieve a compelling state interest and are necessary for the
  114  prosperity and welfare of the state and its property owners and
  115  inhabitants.
  116         (2) As used in this section, the term:
  117         (a)“Assessment financing agreement” means the financing
  118  agreement, under a REEF program, between a local government and
  119  a property owner for the acquisition or installation of
  120  qualifying improvements.
  121         (b) “Financing agreement” means an agreement, under a
  122  qualifying improvement program, between a local government and a
  123  property owner to finance the acquisition or installation of
  124  qualifying improvements through a non-ad valorem assessment.
  125         (c)(a) “Local government” means a county, a municipality, a
  126  dependent special district as defined in s. 189.012, or a
  127  separate legal entity created pursuant to s. 163.01(7).
  128         (d)“Non-ad valorem assessment” or “assessment” has the
  129  same meaning as the term “non-ad valorem assessment” as defined
  130  in s. 197.3632(1)(d).
  131         (e)“Nonresidential real property” means any property not
  132  defined as residential real property, including, but not limited
  133  to:
  134         1.Agricultural real property.
  135         2.Commercial real property.
  136         3. Industrial real property.
  137         4.Office real property.
  138         5. Multifamily residential real property composed of five
  139  or more dwelling units.
  140         (f)“Program administrator” means an entity, including, but
  141  not limited to, a for-profit or not-for-profit entity, with
  142  which a local government may contract to administer all or part
  143  of a qualifying improvement program under this section.
  144         (g)(b) “Qualifying improvement” means a program established
  145  under this section by a local government, alone or in
  146  partnership with other local governments or a program
  147  administrator, to finance qualifying improvements on real
  148  property and includes any:
  149         1. Energy conservation and efficiency improvement, which is
  150  a measure to reduce consumption through conservation or a more
  151  efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, or other
  152  forms of energy on the property, including, but not limited to,
  153  air sealing; installation of insulation; installation of energy
  154  efficient heating, cooling, or ventilation systems; building
  155  modifications to increase the use of daylight; replacement of
  156  windows; installation of energy controls or energy recovery
  157  systems; installation of electric vehicle charging equipment;
  158  and installation of efficient lighting equipment.
  159         2. Renewable energy improvement, which is the installation
  160  of any system in which the electrical, mechanical, or thermal
  161  energy is produced from a method that uses one or more of the
  162  following fuels or energy sources: hydrogen, solar energy,
  163  geothermal energy, bioenergy, and wind energy.
  164         3. Wind resistance improvement, which includes, but is not
  165  limited to:
  166         a. Improving the strength of the roof deck attachment;
  167         b. Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water
  168  intrusion;
  169         c. Installing wind-resistant shingles;
  170         d. Installing gable-end bracing;
  171         e. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections;
  172         f. Installing storm shutters; or
  173         g. Installing opening protections.
  174         4. Wastewater improvement, which includes, but is not
  175  limited to:
  176         a. The removal, replacement, or improvement of an onsite
  177  sewage treatment and disposal system with a secondary or
  178  advanced onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or
  179  technology;
  180         b. The replacement or conversion of an onsite sewage
  181  treatment and disposal system to a central sewerage system or
  182  distributed sewerage system, including, but not limited to, the
  183  installation of a sewer lateral and anything necessary to
  184  connect the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or the
  185  building’s plumbing to a central sewerage system or distributed
  186  sewerage system; or
  187         c. Any removal, repairs, or modifications made to an onsite
  188  sewage treatment and disposal system, including any repair,
  189  modification, or replacement of a system required under a local
  190  ordinance enacted pursuant to ss. 381.0065 and 381.00651.
  191         5. Flood and water damage mitigation and resiliency
  192  improvement, which includes, but is not limited to, projects and
  193  installation for:
  194         a. The raising of a structure above the base flood
  195  elevation to reduce flood damage;
  196         b.A flood diversion apparatus or sea wall improvement,
  197  which includes seawall repairs and seawall replacements;
  198         c. Flood-damage-resistant building materials;
  199         d. Electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or other system
  200  improvements that reduce flood damage; or
  201         e. Other improvements that qualify for reductions in flood
  202  insurance premiums.
  203         6. Environmental health improvement, which is an
  204  improvement or measure intended to mitigate harmful
  205  environmental health effects to property occupants, including,
  206  but not limited to, measures that do any of the following:
  207         a. Mitigate the presence of lead, heavy metals,
  208  polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination, or other harmful
  209  contaminants in potable water systems, such as conversion of
  210  well water to municipal water systems, replacing lead water
  211  service lines, or installing water filters;
  212         b. Mitigate lead paint contamination in housing built
  213  before 1978; or
  214         c. Mitigate indoor air pollution or contaminants, such as
  215  particulate matter, viruses, bacteria, and mold.
  216         (h) “Residential real property” means a residential real
  217  property composed of four or fewer dwelling units.
  218         (i)“Resiliency Energy Environment Florida (REEF) program”
  219  means a program established by a local government, alone or in
  220  partnership with other local governments or a program
  221  administrator, to finance qualifying improvements on
  222  nonresidential real property or residential real property.
  223         (4) Subject to local government ordinance or resolution, a
  224  property owner may apply to the REEF program local government
  225  for funding to finance a qualifying improvement and enter into
  226  an assessment a financing agreement with the local government.
  227  Costs incurred by the REEF program local government for such
  228  purpose may be collected as a non-ad valorem assessment. A non
  229  ad valorem assessment shall be collected pursuant to s. 197.3632
  230  and, notwithstanding s. 197.3632(8)(a), shall not be subject to
  231  discount for early payment. However, the notice and adoption
  232  requirements of s. 197.3632(4) do not apply if this section is
  233  used and complied with, and the intent resolution, publication
  234  of notice, and mailed notices to the property appraiser, tax
  235  collector, and Department of Revenue required by s.
  236  197.3632(3)(a) may be provided on or before August 15 in
  237  conjunction with any non-ad valorem assessment authorized by
  238  this section, if the property appraiser, tax collector, and
  239  local government agree.
  240         (6) A local government may enter into an agreement with a
  241  program administrator to administer a REEF program on behalf of
  242  the local government A qualifying improvement program may be
  243  administered by a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit
  244  organization on behalf of and at the discretion of the local
  245  government.
  246         (7) A local government may incur debt for the purpose of
  247  providing financing for qualifying such improvements, which debt
  248  is payable from revenues received from the improved property, or
  249  from any other available revenue source authorized under this
  250  section or by other law.
  251         (8) A local government may enter into an assessment a
  252  financing agreement to finance or refinance a qualifying
  253  improvement only with the record owner of the affected property.
  254  Any assessment financing agreement entered into pursuant to this
  255  section or a summary memorandum of such agreement shall be
  256  submitted for recording recorded in the public records of the
  257  county within which the property is located by the sponsoring
  258  unit of local government within 10 5 days after execution of the
  259  agreement. The recorded agreement shall provide constructive
  260  notice that the assessment to be levied on the property
  261  constitutes a lien of equal dignity to county taxes and
  262  assessments from the date of recordation. A notice of lien for
  263  the full amount of the financing may be recorded in the public
  264  records of the county where the property is located. Such lien
  265  is not enforceable in a manner that results in the acceleration
  266  of the remaining nondelinquent unpaid balance under the
  267  assessment financing agreement.
  268         (9) Before entering into an assessment a financing
  269  agreement, the local government, or the program administrator
  270  acting on its behalf, shall reasonably determine that all of the
  271  following conditions are met:
  272         (a) All property taxes and any other assessments levied on
  273  the same bill as property taxes are current paid and have not
  274  been delinquent for more than 30 days for the preceding 3 years
  275  or the property owner’s period of ownership, whichever is less.;
  276         (b)that There are no involuntary liens greater than
  277  $1,000, including, but not limited to, construction liens on the
  278  property.;
  279         (c)that No notices of default or other evidence of
  280  property-based debt delinquency have been recorded and not
  281  released during the preceding 3 years or the property owner’s
  282  period of ownership, whichever is less.;
  283         (d)The local government or program administrator has asked
  284  the property owner whether any other assessments under this
  285  section have been recorded or have been funded and not yet
  286  recorded on the property. The failure of a property owner to
  287  disclose information set forth in this paragraph does not
  288  invalidate an assessment financing agreement or any obligation
  289  thereunder, even if the total financed amount of the qualifying
  290  improvements exceeds the amount that would otherwise be
  291  authorized under paragraph (12)(a).
  292         (e)and that The property owner is current on all mortgage
  293  debt on the property.
  294         (f)The residential property is not subject to an existing
  295  home equity conversion mortgage or reverse mortgage product.
  296  This paragraph does not apply to nonresidential real property.
  297         (g)The property is not currently a residential property
  298  gifted to a homeowner for free by a nonprofit entity as may be
  299  disclosed by the property owner. The failure of a property owner
  300  to disclose information set forth in this paragraph does not
  301  invalidate an assessment financing agreement or any obligation
  302  thereunder. This paragraph does not apply to nonresidential real
  303  property.
  304         (10) Before final funding may be provided, a qualifying
  305  improvement must shall be affixed or planned to be affixed to a
  306  nonresidential real property or residential real building or
  307  facility that is part of the property and constitutes shall
  308  constitute an improvement to that property the building or
  309  facility or a fixture attached to the building or facility. An
  310  assessment financing agreement may between a local government
  311  and a qualifying property owner may not cover qualifying wind
  312  resistance improvements on nonresidential real property under
  313  new construction or residential real property in buildings or
  314  facilities under new construction or construction for which a
  315  certificate of occupancy or similar evidence of substantial
  316  completion of new construction or improvement has not been
  317  issued.
  318         (11) Any work requiring a license under any applicable law
  319  to make a qualifying improvement shall be performed by a
  320  contractor properly certified or registered pursuant to part I
  321  or part II of chapter 489, as applicable.
  322         (12)(a) Without the consent of the holders or loan
  323  servicers of any mortgage encumbering or otherwise secured by
  324  the property, the total amount of any non-ad valorem assessment
  325  for a property under this section may not exceed 20 percent of
  326  the fair market just value of the real property as determined by
  327  the county property appraiser. The combined mortgage-related
  328  debt and total amount of any non-ad valorem assessments funded
  329  under this section for residential real property may not exceed
  330  100 percent of the fair market value of the residential real
  331  property. However, the failure of a property owner to disclose
  332  information set forth in paragraph (9)(d) does not invalidate an
  333  assessment financing agreement or any obligation thereunder,
  334  even if the total financed amount of the qualifying improvements
  335  exceeds the amount that would otherwise be authorized under this
  336  paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, fair market value may
  337  be determined using reputable third parties.
  338         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a non-ad valorem
  339  assessment for a qualifying improvement defined in subparagraph
  340  (2)(g)1. (2)(b)1. or subparagraph (2)(g)2. which (2)(b)2. that
  341  is supported by an energy audit is not subject to the limits in
  342  this subsection if the audit demonstrates that the annual energy
  343  savings from the qualified improvement equals or exceeds the
  344  annual repayment amount of the non-ad valorem assessment.
  345         (13) At least 30 days before entering into an assessment a
  346  financing agreement, the property owner shall provide to the
  347  holders or loan servicers of any existing mortgages encumbering
  348  or otherwise secured by the property a notice of the owner’s
  349  intent to enter into an assessment a financing agreement
  350  together with the maximum principal amount to be financed and
  351  the maximum annual assessment necessary to repay that amount. A
  352  verified copy or other proof of such notice shall be provided to
  353  the local government. A provision in any agreement between a
  354  mortgagee or other lienholder and a property owner, or otherwise
  355  now or hereafter binding upon a property owner, which allows for
  356  acceleration of payment of the mortgage, note, or lien or other
  357  unilateral modification solely as a result of entering into an
  358  assessment a financing agreement as provided for in this section
  359  is not enforceable. This subsection does not limit the authority
  360  of the holder or loan servicer to increase the required monthly
  361  escrow by an amount necessary to annually pay the annual
  362  qualifying improvement assessment.
  363         (14) At or before the time a seller purchaser executes a
  364  contract for the sale and purchase of any property for which a
  365  non-ad valorem assessment has been levied under this section and
  366  has an unpaid balance due, the seller must shall give the
  367  prospective purchaser a written disclosure statement in the
  368  following form, which shall be set forth in the contract or in a
  369  separate writing:
  374         HEALTH OR WIND RESISTANCE.—The property being
  375         purchased is located within the jurisdiction of a
  376         local government that has placed an assessment on the
  377         property pursuant to s. 163.08, Florida Statutes. The
  378         assessment is for a qualifying improvement to the
  379         property relating to energy efficiency, renewable
  380         energy, or wind resistance, and is not based on the
  381         value of property. This agreement uses a program
  382         formerly referred to as Property Assessed Clean
  383         Energy, or PACE. You are encouraged to contact the
  384         county property appraiser’s office to learn more about
  385         this and other assessments that may be provided by
  386         law.
  388         (16)(a)Before final approval of an assessment financing
  389  agreement for a qualifying improvement on a residential real
  390  property, a program administrator shall reasonably determine
  391  that the property owner has the ability to pay the estimated
  392  annual assessment. To do so, the program administrator shall, at
  393  a minimum, use the underwriting requirements in subsection (9),
  394  confirm that the property owner is not in bankruptcy, and
  395  determine that the total estimated annual payment amount for all
  396  assessment financing agreements funded under this section on the
  397  property does not exceed 10 percent of the property owner’s
  398  annual household income. Income may be confirmed using
  399  information gathered from reputable third parties that provide
  400  reasonably reliable evidence of the property owner’s household
  401  income. Income may not be confirmed solely by a property owner’s
  402  statement.
  403         (b) In the event that a court or tribunal determines, by
  404  clear and convincing evidence, that the program administrator’s
  405  determination of the property owner’s ability to pay was not
  406  objectively reasonable based on the information provided by the
  407  property owner, the yearly assessment payment shall be reduced
  408  in the amount which is within the property owner’s ability to
  409  pay. This paragraph does not require or authorize the
  410  administrator to reduce the amount owed on the assessment.
  411         (c) The failure of a property owner to disclose information
  412  set forth in paragraph (9)(d) does not invalidate an assessment
  413  financing agreement or any obligation thereunder, even if the
  414  total estimated annual payment amount exceeds the amount that
  415  would otherwise be authorized under this subsection.
  416         (17)Before or contemporaneously with a property owner
  417  signing an assessment financing agreement on a residential real
  418  property, the program administrator shall provide a financing
  419  estimate and disclosure to the residential real property owner
  420  which includes all of the following:
  421         (a)The total amount estimated to be funded, including the
  422  cost of the qualifying improvements, program fees, and
  423  capitalized interest, if any.
  424         (b)The estimated annual assessment.
  425         (c)The term of the assessment.
  426         (d)The interest charged and estimated annual percentage
  427  rate.
  428         (e)A description of the qualifying improvement.
  429         (f)A disclosure that if the property owner sells or
  430  refinances the property, the property owner, as a condition of
  431  the sale or the refinance, may be required by a mortgage lender
  432  to pay off the full amount owed under each assessment financing
  433  agreement.
  434         (g)A disclosure that the assessment will be collected
  435  along with the property owner’s property taxes and will result
  436  in a lien on the property from the date the assessment financing
  437  agreement is recorded.
  438         (h)A disclosure that failure to pay the assessment may
  439  result in penalties and fees, along with the issuance of a tax
  440  certificate that could result in the property owner losing the
  441  real property.
  442         (18)Before a notice to proceed is issued on residential
  443  real property, the program administrator shall conduct with the
  444  residential real property owner or an authorized representative
  445  an oral, recorded telephone call. The program administrator
  446  shall ask the residential real property owner if he or she would
  447  like to communicate primarily in a language other than English.
  448  A program administrator may not leave a voicemail on the
  449  residential real property owner’s or authorized representative’s
  450  telephone to satisfy this requirement. A program administrator,
  451  as part of such telephone call, shall confirm all of the
  452  following with the residential real property owner:
  453         (a)That at least one residential real property owner has
  454  access to a copy of the assessment financing agreement and
  455  financing estimates and disclosures.
  456         (b)The qualifying improvements being financed.
  457         (c)The total estimated annual costs that the residential
  458  real property owner will have to pay under the assessment
  459  financing agreement, including applicable fees.
  460         (d)The total estimated average monthly equivalent amount
  461  of funds the residential real property owner would have to save
  462  in order to pay the annual costs of the assessment, including
  463  applicable fees.
  464         (e)The estimated due date of the residential real property
  465  owner’s first property tax payment that includes the assessment
  466  will be due.
  467         (f)The term of the assessment financing agreement.
  468         (g)That payments for the assessment financing agreement
  469  will cause the residential real property owner’s annual property
  470  tax bill to increase, and that payments will be made through an
  471  additional annual assessment on the property and either will be
  472  paid directly to the county tax collector’s office as part of
  473  the total annual secured property tax bill or may be paid
  474  through the residential real property owner’s mortgage escrow
  475  account.
  476         (h)That the residential real property owner has disclosed
  477  whether the property has received, or the owner is seeking,
  478  additional assessments funded under this section and that the
  479  owner has disclosed all other assessments funded under this
  480  section which are or are about to be placed on the property.
  481         (i)That the property will be subject to a lien during the
  482  term of the assessment financing agreement and that the
  483  obligations under the agreement may be required to be paid in
  484  full before the residential real property owner sells or
  485  refinances the property.
  486         (j)That any potential utility or insurance savings are not
  487  guaranteed and will not reduce the assessment or total
  488  assessment amount.
  489         (k)That the program administrator does not provide tax
  490  advice, and the residential real property owner should seek
  491  professional tax advice if he or she has questions regarding tax
  492  credits, tax deductibility, or other tax impacts of the
  493  qualifying improvement or the assessment financing agreement.
  494         (19)A residential real property owner may cancel an
  495  assessment financing agreement within 3 business days after
  496  signing the assessment financing agreement without any financial
  497  penalty from the program administrator for doing so.
  498         (20)The term of an assessment financing agreement on
  499  residential real property may not exceed the lesser of:
  500         (a)Thirty years; or
  501         (b)The greater of either the weighted average estimated
  502  useful life of all qualifying improvements being financed or the
  503  estimated useful life of the qualifying improvements to which
  504  the greatest portion of funds is disbursed.
  505         (21)An assessment financing agreement authorized under
  506  this section on residential real property may not include any of
  507  the following financing terms:
  508         (a)A negative amortization schedule. Capitalized interest
  509  included in the original balance of the assessment financing
  510  agreement does not constitute negative amortization.
  511         (b)A balloon payment.
  512         (c)Prepayment fees, other than nominal administrative
  513  costs.
  514         (22)For residential real property, a program
  515  administrator:
  516         (a)May not enroll a contractor who contracts with
  517  residential real property owners to install qualifying
  518  improvements unless:
  519         1.The program administrator makes a reasonable effort to
  520  review that the contractor maintains in good standing an
  521  appropriate license from the state, if applicable, as well as
  522  any other permit, license, or registration required for engaging
  523  in business in the jurisdiction in which he or she operates and
  524  that the contractor maintains all state-required bond and
  525  insurance coverage; and
  526         2.The program administrator obtains the contractor’s
  527  written agreement that the contractor will act in accordance
  528  with all applicable laws, including applicable advertising and
  529  marketing laws and regulations.
  530         (b)Shall maintain a process to enroll new contractors
  531  which includes reasonable review of the following for each
  532  contractor:
  533         1.Relevant work or project history.
  534         2.Financial and reputational background checks.
  535         3.A criminal background check.
  536         4.Status on the Better Business Bureau online platform or
  537  another online platform that tracks contractor reviews.
  538         (c)A program administrator may pay or reimburse
  539  contractors for any expense allowable under applicable state law
  540  and not otherwise prohibited under this section, including, but
  541  not limited to, marketing, training, and promotions.
  542         (d) A program administrator may not disclose to a
  543  contractor or to a third party engaged in soliciting a financing
  544  agreement the maximum financing amount for which a residential
  545  real property owner is eligible.
  546         (23)Before disbursing funds to a contractor for a
  547  qualifying improvement on residential real property, a program
  548  administrator must first confirm that the applicable work or
  549  service has been completed through any of the following:
  550         (a)A written certification from the property owner;
  551         (b)A recorded telephone call with the property owner;
  552         (c)A review of geotagged and time-stamped photographs;
  553         (d)A review of a final permit; or
  554         (e)A site inspection through third-party means.
  555         (24)A program administrator shall comply with the
  556  following marketing and communications guidelines when
  557  communicating with residential real property owners:
  558         (a)A program administrator may not represent:
  559         1.That the REEF program or assessment financing is a
  560  government assistance program;
  561         2.That qualifying improvements are free or that assessment
  562  financing is a free program; or
  563         3.That the financing of a qualifying improvement using the
  564  REEF program does not require the property owner to repay the
  565  financial obligation.
  566         (b)A program administrator may not make any representation
  567  as to the tax deductibility of an assessment authorized under
  568  this section. A program administrator may encourage a property
  569  owner to seek the advice of a tax professional regarding tax
  570  matters related to assessments.
  571         (25)A contractor may not present a higher price for a
  572  qualifying improvement on residential real property financed by
  573  an assessment financing agreement than the contractor would
  574  otherwise reasonably present if the qualifying improvement was
  575  not being financed through an assessment financing agreement.
  576         (26)A program administrator shall use appropriate
  577  methodologies or technologies to identify and verify the
  578  identity of the residential real property owner who executes an
  579  assessment financing agreement.
  580         (27)A program administrator may not provide a contractor
  581  with any payment, fee, or kickback in exchange for referring
  582  assessment financing business relating to a specific assessment
  583  financing agreement on residential real property.
  584         (28)A program administrator shall develop and implement
  585  policies and procedures for responding to, tracking, and helping
  586  to resolve questions and property owner complaints as soon as
  587  reasonably practicable.
  588         (29)A program administrator shall maintain a process for
  589  monitoring enrolled contractors that contract with residential
  590  real property owners to install qualifying improvements with
  591  regard to performance and compliance with program policies and
  592  shall implement policies for suspending and terminating enrolled
  593  contractors based on violations of program policies or
  594  unscrupulous behavior. A program administrator shall maintain a
  595  policy for determining the conditions on which a contractor may
  596  be reinstated to the program.
  597         (30)A program administrator shall provide, at a reasonable
  598  time following the end of the prior calendar year, an annual
  599  report to the dependent special district as defined in s.
  600  189.012 or a separate legal entity created pursuant to s.
  601  163.01(7) which it has contracted with to administer a REEF
  602  program and shall include information and data related to the
  603  following:
  604         (a)The total number of property owner complaints received
  605  which are associated with project funding in the report year.
  606         (b)Of the total number of property owner complaints
  607  received which are associated with project funding in the report
  608  year:
  609         1.The number and percentage of complaints that relate to
  610  the assessment financing.
  611         2.The number and percentage of complaints that relate to a
  612  contractor or the workmanship of a contractor and are not
  613  related to assessment financing.
  614         3.The number and percentage of complaints that relate to
  615  both a contractor and the assessment financing.
  616         4.The number and percentage of complaints received
  617  pursuant to subparagraphs 1., 2., and 3. which were resolved and
  618  the number and percentage of complaints received pursuant to
  619  subparagraphs 1., 2., and 3. which were not resolved.
  620         (c)The percentage of property owner complaints received
  621  pursuant to subparagraphs (b)1., 2., and 3. expressed as a total
  622  of all projects funded in the report year.
  623         (31)(a)Subsections (16) through (30) do not apply to
  624  residential real property if the program administrator
  625  reasonably determines that:
  626         1.The residential real property is owned by a business
  627  entity that owns more than four residential real properties; and
  628         2.The business entity’s managing member, partner, or
  629  beneficial owner does not reside in the residential real
  630  property.
  631         (b)Subsections (16) through (30) apply to a program
  632  administrator only when administering a REEF program for
  633  qualifying improvements on residential real property.
  634  Subsections (16) through (30) do not apply with respect to a
  635  local government, to residential property owned by a local
  636  government, or to nonresidential real property.
  637         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.