July 15, 2020
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_h7179e2
CS/HB 7179

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to qualifying improvements to real
3property; creating s. 163.08, F.S.; providing legislative
4purposes and findings and intent; providing definitions;
5authorizing a local government to levy non-ad valorem
6assessments to fund certain improvements; authorizing a
7property owner to apply for funding and enter into a
8financing agreement with a local government to finance
9certain improvements; authorizing a local government to
10collect moneys for such purposes through non-ad valorem
11assessments; providing collection requirements;
12authorizing local governments to partner with other local
13governments to provide and finance certain improvements;
14authorizing a qualifying improvement program to be
15administered by a for-profit entity or not-for-profit
16organization under certain circumstances; authorizing a
17local government to incur debt payable from revenues
18received from the improved property; providing a financing
19restriction for local governments; requiring a financial
20agreement to be recorded in a county's public records
21within 5 days after execution of the agreement; specifying
22responsibilities for local governments before entering
23into financing agreements; requiring qualifying
24improvements to be affixed to a building or facility on
25the property and be performed by a properly certified or
26registered contractor; excluding certain projects from
27financing agreement coverage; limiting the amount of the
28non-ad valorem assessment to a percentage of the just
29value of the property; providing exceptions; specifying
30information provision requirements for property owners
31before entering into financing agreements; prohibiting
32acceleration of a mortgage under certain circumstances;
33providing assessment disclosure requirements; specifying
34unenforceability of certain agreement provisions;
35providing construction preserving a local government's
36home rule authority; providing an effective date.
37
38Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
39
40     Section 1.  Section 163.08, Florida Statutes, is created to
41read:
42     163.08  Supplemental authority for improvements to real
43property.-
44     (1)(a)  In chapter 2008-227, Laws of Florida, the
45Legislature amended the energy goal of the state comprehensive
46plan to provide, in part, that the state shall reduce its energy
47requirements through enhanced conservation and efficiency
48measures in all end-use sectors and reduce atmospheric carbon
49dioxide by promoting an increased use of renewable energy
50resources. That act also declared it the public policy of the
51state to play a leading role in developing and instituting
52energy management programs that promote energy conservation,
53energy security, and the reduction of greenhouse gases. In
54addition to establishing policies to promote the use of
55renewable energy, the Legislature provided for a schedule of
56increases in energy performance of buildings subject to the
57Florida Energy Efficiency Code for Building Construction. In
58chapter 2008-191, Laws of Florida, the Legislature adopted new
59energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction comprehensive
60planning requirements for local governments. In the 2008 general
61election, the voters of this state approved a constitutional
62amendment authorizing the Legislature, by general law, to
63prohibit consideration of any change or improvement made for the
64purpose of improving a property's resistance to wind damage or
65the installation of a renewable energy source device in the
66determination of the assessed value of residential real
67property.
68     (b)  The Legislature finds that all energy-consuming-
69improved properties that are not using energy conservation
70strategies contribute to the burden affecting all improved
71property resulting from fossil fuel energy production. Improved
72property that has been retrofitted with energy-related
73qualifying improvements receives the special benefit of
74alleviating the property's burden from energy consumption. All
75improved properties not protected from wind damage by wind
76resistance qualifying improvements contribute to the burden
77affecting all improved property resulting from potential wind
78damage. Improved property that has been retrofitted with wind
79resistance qualifying improvements receives the special benefit
80of reducing the property's burden from potential wind damage.
81Further, the installation and operation of qualifying
82improvements not only benefit the affected properties for which
83the improvements are made, but also assist in fulfilling the
84goals of the state's energy and hurricane mitigation policies.
85In order to make qualifying improvements more affordable and
86assist property owners who wish to undertake such improvements,
87the Legislature finds that there is a compelling state interest
88in enabling property owners to voluntarily finance such
89improvements with local government assistance.
90     (c)  The Legislature determines that the actions authorized
91under this section, including, but not limited to, the financing
92of qualifying improvements through the execution of financing
93agreements and the related imposition of voluntary assessments
94are reasonable and necessary to serve and achieve a compelling
95state interest and are necessary for the prosperity and welfare
96of the state and its property owners and inhabitants.
97     (2)  As used in this section, the term:
98     (a)  "Local government" means a county, a municipality, or
99a dependent special district as defined in s. 189.403.
100     (b)  "Qualifying improvement" includes any:
101     1.  Energy conservation and efficiency improvement, which
102is a measure to reduce consumption through conservation or a
103more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, or
104other forms of energy on the property, including, but not
105limited to, air sealing; installation of insulation;
106installation of energy-efficient heating, cooling, or
107ventilation systems; building modifications to increase the use
108of daylight; replacement of windows; installation of energy
109controls or energy recovery systems; installation of electric
110vehicle charging equipment; and installation of efficient
111lighting equipment.
112     2.  Renewable energy improvement, which is the installation
113of any system in which the electrical, mechanical, or thermal
114energy is produced from a method that uses one or more of the
115following fuels or energy sources: hydrogen, solar energy,
116geothermal energy, bioenergy, and wind energy.
117     3.  Wind resistance improvement, which includes, but is not
118limited to:
119     a.  Improving the strength of the roof deck attachment;
120     b.  Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water
121intrusion;
122     c.  Installing wind-resistant shingles;
123     d.  Installing gable-end bracing;
124     e.  Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections;
125     f.  Installing storm shutters; or
126     g.  Installing opening protections.
127     (3)  A local government may levy non-ad valorem assessments
128to fund qualifying improvements.
129     (4)  Subject to local government ordinance or resolution, a
130property owner may apply to the local government for funding to
131finance a qualifying improvement and enter into a financing
132agreement with the local government. Costs incurred by the local
133government for such purpose may be collected as a non-ad valorem
134assessment. A non-ad valorem assessment shall be collected
135pursuant to s. 197.3632 and, notwithstanding s. 197.3632(8)(a),
136shall not be subject to discount for early payment. However, the
137notice and adoption requirements of s. 197.3632(4) do not apply
138if this section is used and complied with, and the intent
139resolution, publication of notice, and mailed notices to the
140property appraiser, tax collector, and Department of Revenue
141required by s. 197.3632(3)(a) may be provided on or before
142August 15 in conjunction with any non-ad valorem assessment
143authorized by this section, if the property appraiser, tax
144collector, and local government agree.
145     (5)  Pursuant to this section or as otherwise provided by
146law or pursuant to a local government's home rule power, a local
147government may enter into a partnership with one or more local
148governments for the purpose of providing and financing
149qualifying improvements.
150     (6)  A qualifying improvement program may be administered
151by a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit organization on
152behalf of and at the discretion of the local government.
153     (7)  A local government may incur debt for the purpose of
154providing such improvements, payable from revenues received from
155the improved property, or any other available revenue source
156authorized by law.
157     (8)  A local government may enter into a financing
158agreement only with the record owner of the affected property.
159Any financing agreement entered into pursuant to this section or
160a summary memorandum of such agreement shall be recorded in the
161public records of the county within which the property is
162located by the sponsoring unit of local government within 5 days
163after execution of the agreement. The recorded agreement shall
164provide constructive notice that the assessment to be levied on
165the property constitutes a lien of equal dignity to county taxes
166and assessments from the date of recordation.
167     (9)  Before entering into a financing agreement, the local
168government shall reasonably determine that all property taxes
169and any other assessments levied on the same bill as property
170taxes are paid and have not been delinquent for the preceding 3
171years or the property owner's period of ownership, whichever is
172less; that there are no involuntary liens, including, but not
173limited to, construction liens on the property; that no notices
174of default or other evidence of property-based debt delinquency
175have been recorded during the preceding 3 years or the property
176owner's period of ownership, whichever is less; and that the
177property owner is current on all mortgage debt on the property.
178     (10)  A qualifying improvement shall be affixed to a
179building or facility that is part of the property and shall
180constitute an improvement to the building or facility or a
181fixture attached to the building or facility. An agreement
182between a local government and a qualifying property owner may
183not cover wind-resistance improvements in buildings or
184facilities under new construction or construction for which a
185certificate of occupancy or similar evidence of substantial
186completion of new construction or improvement has not been
187issued.
188     (11)  Any work requiring a license under any applicable law
189to make a qualifying improvement shall be performed by a
190contractor properly certified or registered pursuant to part I
191or part II of chapter 489.
192     (12)(a)  Without the consent of the holders or loan
193servicers of any mortgage encumbering or otherwise secured by
194the property, the total amount of any non-ad valorem assessment
195for a property under this section may not exceed 20 percent of
196the just value of the property as determined by the county
197property appraiser.
198     (b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a non-ad valorem
199assessment for a qualifying improvement defined in subparagraph
200(2)(b)1. or subparagraph (2)(b)2. that is supported by an energy
201audit is not subject to the limits in this subsection if the
202audit demonstrates that the annual energy savings from the
203qualified improvement equals or exceeds the annual repayment
204amount of the non-ad valorem assessment.
205     (13)  At least 30 days before entering into a financing
206agreement, the property owner shall provide to the holders or
207loan servicers of any existing mortgages encumbering or
208otherwise secured by the property a notice of the owner's intent
209to enter into a financing agreement together with the maximum
210principal amount to be financed and the maximum annual
211assessment necessary to repay that amount. A verified copy or
212other proof of such notice shall be provided to the local
213government. A provision in any agreement between a mortgagee or
214other lienholder and a property owner, or otherwise now or
215hereafter binding upon a property owner, which allows for
216acceleration of payment of the mortgage, note, or lien or other
217unilateral modification solely as a result of entering into a
218financing agreement as provided for in this section is not
219enforceable. This subsection does not limit the authority of the
220holder or loan servicer to increase the required monthly escrow
221by an amount necessary to annually pay the qualifying
222improvement assessment.
223     (14)  At or before the time a purchaser executes a contract
224for the sale and purchase of any property for which a non-ad
225valorem assessment has been levied under this section and has an
226unpaid balance due, the seller shall give the prospective
227purchaser a written disclosure statement in the following form,
228which shall be set forth in the contract or in a separate
229writing:
230
231QUALIFYING IMPROVEMENTS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY,
232RENEWABLE ENERGY, OR WIND RESISTANCE.-The property
233being purchased is located within the jurisdiction of
234a local government that has placed an assessment on
235the property pursuant to s. 163.08, Florida Statutes.
236The assessment is for a qualifying improvement to the
237property relating to energy efficiency, renewable
238energy, or wind resistance, and is not based on the
239value of property. You are encouraged to contact the
240county property appraiser's office to learn more about
241this and other assessments that may be provided by
242law.
243
244     (15)  A provision in any agreement between a local
245government and a public or private power or energy provider or
246other utility provider is not enforceable to limit or prohibit
247any local government from exercising its authority under this
248section.
249     (16)  This section is additional and supplemental to county
250and municipal home rule authority and not in derogation of such
251authority or a limitation upon such authority.
252     Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.


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