August 13, 2020
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_h7179c1
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 shall reduce atmospheric
49carbon dioxide 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 reduction of greenhouse gases. In addition
54to establishing policies to promote the use of renewable energy,
55the Legislature provided for a schedule of increases in energy
56performance of buildings subject to the Florida Energy
57Efficiency Code for Building Construction. In chapter 2008-191,
58Laws of Florida, the Legislature adopted new energy conservation
59and greenhouse gas reduction comprehensive planning requirements
60for local governments. In the 2008 general election, the voters
61of this state approved a constitutional amendment authorizing
62the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of
63any change or improvement made for the purpose of improving a
64property's resistance to wind damage or the installation of a
65renewable energy source device in the determination of the
66assessed value of residential real property.
67     (b)  The Legislature finds that all energy-consuming-
68improved properties not using energy conservation strategies
69contribute to the burden affecting all improved property
70resulting from fossil fuel energy production. Improved property
71that has been retrofitted with energy-related qualifying
72improvements receives the special benefit of alleviating the
73property's burden from energy consumption. All improved
74properties not protected from wind damage by wind resistance
75qualifying improvements contribute to the burden affecting all
76improved property resulting from potential wind damage. Improved
77property that has been retrofitted with wind resistance
78qualifying improvements receives the special benefit of reducing
79the property's burden from potential wind damage. Further, the
80installation and operation of qualifying improvements not only
81benefit the affected properties for which the improvements are
82made, but also assist in fulfilling the goals of the state's
83energy and hurricane mitigation policies. To make qualifying
84improvements more affordable and assist property owners who wish
85to undertake such improvements, there is a compelling state
86interest in enabling property owners, on a voluntary basis, to
87finance such improvements with local government assistance.
88     (c)  The Legislature determines that the actions authorized
89under this section, including, but not limited to, the financing
90of qualifying improvements through the execution of financing
91agreements and the related imposition of voluntary assessments
92are reasonable and necessary to serve and achieve a compelling
93state interest and are necessary for the prosperity and welfare
94of the state and its property owners and inhabitants.
95     (2)  As used in this section, the term:
96     (a)  "Local government" means a county or municipality.
97     (b)  "Qualifying improvement" includes any:
98     1.  "Energy conservation and efficiency improvement," which
99means a measure to reduce consumption, through conservation or
100more efficient use, of electricity, natural gas, propane, or
101other forms of energy on the property, including, but not
102limited to, air sealing; installation of insulation;
103installation of energy-efficient heating, cooling, or
104ventilation systems; building modifications to increase the use
105of daylight; replacement of windows; installation of energy
106controls or energy recovery systems; installation of electric
107vehicle charging equipment; and installation of efficient
108lighting equipment.
109     2.  "Renewable energy improvement," which means the
110installation of any system whose electrical, mechanical, or
111thermal energy is produced from a method that uses one or more
112of the following fuels or energy sources: hydrogen, solar
113energy, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and wind energy.
114     3.  "Wind resistance improvement," which includes, but is
115not limited to:
116     a.  Improving the strength of the roof deck attachment;
117     b.  Creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water
118intrusion;
119     c.  Installing wind-resistant shingles;
120     d.  Installing gable-end bracing;
121     e.  Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections;
122     f.  Installing storm shutters; or
123     g.  Installing opening protections.
124     (3)  A local government may levy non-ad valorem assessments
125to fund qualifying improvements.
126     (4)  Subject to local government ordinance or resolution, a
127property owner may apply to the local government for funding to
128finance a qualifying improvement and enter into a financing
129agreement with the local government. Costs incurred by the local
130government for such purpose may be collected as a non-ad valorem
131assessment. A non-ad valorem assessment shall be collected
132pursuant to s. 197.3632. However, the notice and adoption
133requirements of s. 197.3632(4) do not apply if this section is
134used and complied with, and the initial resolution, publication
135of notice, and mailed notices to the property appraiser, tax
136collector, and Department of Revenue required by s.
137197.3632(3)(a) may be provided on or before August 15 in
138conjunction with any non-ad valorem assessment authorized by
139this section, if the property appraiser, tax collector, and
140local government agree.
141     (5)  Pursuant to this chapter or as otherwise provided by
142law or pursuant to a local government's home rule power, a local
143government may partner with one or more local governments for
144the purpose of providing and financing qualifying improvements.
145     (6)  A qualifying improvement program may be administered
146by a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit organization on
147behalf of and at the discretion of the local government.
148     (7)  A local government may incur debt for the purpose of
149providing such improvements, payable from revenues received from
150the improved property, or any other available revenue source
151authorized by law.
152     (8)  A local government may enter into a financing
153agreement only with the record owner of the affected property.
154Any financing agreement entered into pursuant to this section or
155a summary memorandum of such agreement shall be recorded in the
156public records of the county within which the property is
157located by the sponsoring unit of local government within 5 days
158after execution of the agreement. The recorded agreement shall
159provide constructive notice that the assessment to be levied on
160the property constitutes a lien of equal dignity to county taxes
161and assessments from the date of recordation.
162     (9)  Before entering into a financing agreement, the local
163government shall reasonably determine that all property taxes
164and any other assessments levied on the same bill as property
165taxes are paid and have not been delinquent for the preceding 3
166years or the property owner's period of ownership, whichever is
167less; that there are no involuntary liens, including, but not
168limited to, construction liens on the property; that no notices
169of default or other evidence of property-based debt delinquency
170have been recorded during the preceding 3 years or the property
171owner's period of ownership, whichever is less; and that the
172property owner is current on all mortgage debt on the property.
173     (10)  A qualifying improvement shall be affixed to a
174building or facility that is part of the property and shall
175constitute an improvement to the building or facility or a
176fixture attached to the building or facility. An agreement
177between a local government and a qualifying property owner may
178not cover wind-resistance improvements in buildings or
179facilities under new construction or construction for which a
180certificate of occupancy or similar evidence of substantial
181completion of new construction or improvement has not been
182issued.
183     (11)  Any work requiring a license under any applicable law
184to make a qualifying improvement shall be performed by a
185contractor properly certified or registered pursuant to part I
186or part II of chapter 489.
187     (12)(a)  Without the consent of the holders or loan
188servicers of any mortgage encumbering or otherwise secured by
189the property, the total amount of any non-ad valorem assessment
190for a property under this section may not exceed 20 percent of
191the just value of the property as determined by the county
192property appraiser.
193     (b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a non-ad valorem
194assessment for a qualifying improvement defined in subparagraph
195(2)(b)1. or subparagraph (2)(b)2. that is supported by an energy
196audit is not subject to the limits in this subsection if the
197audit demonstrates that the annual energy savings from the
198qualified improvement equals or exceeds the annual repayment
199amount of the non-ad valorem assessment.
200     (13)  At least 30 days before entering into a financing
201agreement, the property owner shall provide to the holders or
202loan servicers of any existing mortgages encumbering or
203otherwise secured by the property a notice of the owner's intent
204to enter into a financing agreement together with the maximum
205principal amount to be financed and the maximum annual
206assessment necessary to repay that amount. A verified copy or
207other proof of such notice shall be provided to the local
208government. A provision in any agreement between a mortgagee or
209other lienholder and a property owner, or otherwise now or
210hereafter binding upon a property owner, which allows for
211acceleration of payment of the mortgage, note, or lien or other
212unilateral modification solely as a result of entering into a
213financing agreement as provided for in this section is not
214enforceable. This subsection does not limit the authority of the
215holder or loan servicer to increase the required monthly escrow
216by an amount necessary to annually pay the qualifying
217improvement assessment.
218     (14)  Each contract for the initial sale of a parcel of
219real property for which a non-ad valorem assessment has been
220imposed under the authority of this section within the local
221government shall include, immediately prior to the space
222reserved in the contract for the signature of the purchaser, the
223following disclosure statement in boldfaced and conspicuous type
224that is larger than the type in the remaining text of the
225contract: "THE ...(name of local government)... HAS IMPOSED A
226NON-AD VALOREM ASSESSMENT ON THIS PROPERTY. THIS ASSESSMENT IS
227IN ADDITION TO OTHER LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND ALL
228OTHER ASSESSMENTS PROVIDED FOR BY LAW."
229     (15)  A provision in any agreement between a local
230government and a public or private power or energy provider or
231other utility provider is not enforceable to limit or prohibit
232any local government from exercising its authority under this
233section.
234     (16)  This section is additional and supplemental to county
235and municipal home rule authority and not in derogation of such
236authority or a limitation upon such authority.
237     Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.


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