Florida Senate - 2023 CS for SB 748
By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Boyd
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the My Safe Florida Home Program;
3 amending s. 215.5586, F.S.; providing that licensed,
4 rather than certified, inspectors are to provide
5 hurricane mitigation inspections on site-built,
6 single-family, residential properties that have been
7 granted a homestead exemption; revising the
8 information provided to homeowners as part of a
9 hurricane mitigation inspection; revising the
10 hurricane mitigation inspectors that may be selected
11 by the Department of Financial Services to provide
12 hurricane mitigation inspections; deleting a provision
13 requiring the department to implement a certain
14 quality assurance program; revising the criteria for
15 mitigation grant eligibility for homeowners; deleting
16 a provision that subjects mitigation projects to
17 random reinspection for a specified timeframe;
18 revising the improvements for which mitigation grants
19 may be used; revising the amount low-income homeowners
20 may receive from the department under the grant
21 program; deleting a provision authorizing low-income
22 homeowners to use grant funds for specified purposes;
23 deleting a requirement that the department establish
24 specified criteria for prioritizing grant
25 applications; authorizing, rather than requiring, the
26 program to develop and distribute certain brochures to
27 specified persons; deleting a provision requiring
28 certain contracts entered into by the department to be
29 reviewed and approved by the Legislative Budget
30 Commission; requiring the department to develop a
31 certain quality assurance and reinspection program;
32 revising the contents of the annual report the
33 department is required to deliver to the Legislature;
34 conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
35 making technical changes; reenacting s. 215.5588(3),
36 F.S., relating to the Florida Disaster Recovery
37 Program, to incorporate the amendments made to s.
38 215.5586, F.S., in a reference thereto; providing an
39 effective date.
41 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
43 Section 1. Section 215.5586, Florida Statutes, is amended
44 to read:
45 215.5586 My Safe Florida Home Program.—There is established
46 within the Department of Financial Services the My Safe Florida
47 Home Program. The department shall provide fiscal
48 accountability, contract management, and strategic leadership
49 for the program, consistent with this section. This section does
50 not create an entitlement for property owners or obligate the
51 state in any way to fund the inspection or retrofitting of
52 residential property in this state. Implementation of this
53 program is subject to annual legislative appropriations. It is
54 the intent of the Legislature that the My Safe Florida Home
55 Program provide licensed
trained and certified inspectors to
56 perform inspections for owners of site-built, single-family,
57 residential properties and grants to eligible applicants as
58 funding allows. The program shall develop and implement a
59 comprehensive and coordinated approach for hurricane damage
60 mitigation that may include the following:
61 (1) HURRICANE MITIGATION INSPECTIONS.—
62 (a) Licensed Certified inspectors are to provide home home
63 retrofit inspections of site-built, single-family, residential
64 properties for which a homestead exemption has been granted,
65 property may be offered to determine what mitigation measures
66 are needed, what insurance premium discounts may be available,
67 and what improvements to existing residential properties are
68 needed to reduce the property’s vulnerability to hurricane
70 (b) The Department of Financial Services shall contract
71 with wind certification entities to provide hurricane mitigation
72 inspections. The inspections provided to homeowners, at a
73 minimum, must include:
74 1. A home inspection and report that summarizes the results
75 and identifies recommended improvements a homeowner may take to
76 mitigate hurricane damage.
77 2. A range of cost estimates regarding the recommended
78 mitigation improvements.
79 3. Insurer-specific Information regarding estimated premium
80 discounts, correlated to the current mitigation features and the
81 recommended mitigation improvements identified by the
83 (c) (b) To qualify for selection by the department as a wind
84 certification entity to provide hurricane mitigation
85 inspections, the entity must shall, at a minimum, meet the
86 following requirements:
87 1. Use hurricane mitigation inspectors who are licensed or
88 certified as:
89 a. Are certified as A building inspector under s. 468.607;
90 b. Are licensed as A general, building, or residential
91 contractor under s. 489.111;
92 c. Are licensed as A professional engineer under s. 471.015
93 and who have passed the appropriate equivalency test of the
94 building code training program as required by s. 553.841;
95 d. Are licensed as A professional architect under s.
96 481.213; or
97 e. A home inspector under s. 468.8314 and who have
98 completed at least 3 hours of hurricane mitigation training
99 approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, which
100 training must include hurricane mitigation techniques,
101 compliance with the uniform mitigation verification form, and
102 completion of a proficiency exam Have at least 2 years of
103 experience in residential construction or residential building
104 inspection and have received specialized training in hurricane
105 mitigation procedures. Such training may be provided by a class
106 offered online or in person.
107 2. Use hurricane mitigation inspectors who also :
108 a. have undergone drug testing and a background screening.
109 The department may conduct criminal record checks of inspectors
110 used by wind certification entities. Inspectors must submit a
111 set of the fingerprints to the department for state and national
112 criminal history checks and must pay the fingerprint processing
113 fee set forth in s. 624.501. The fingerprints must shall be sent
114 by the department to the Department of Law Enforcement and
115 forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for processing.
116 The results must shall be returned to the department for
117 screening. The fingerprints must shall be taken by a law
118 enforcement agency, designated examination center, or other
119 department-approved entity ; and
120 b. Have been certified, in a manner satisfactory to the
121 department, to conduct the inspections.
122 3. Provide a quality assurance program including a
123 reinspection component.
124 (c) The department shall implement a quality assurance
125 program that includes a statistically valid number of
127 (d) An application for an inspection must contain a signed
128 or electronically verified statement made under penalty of
129 perjury that the applicant has submitted only a single
130 application for that home.
131 (e) The owner of a site-built, single-family, residential
132 property for which a homestead exemption has been granted may
133 apply for and receive an inspection without also applying for a
134 grant pursuant to subsection (2) and without meeting the
135 requirements of paragraph (2)(a).
136 (2) MITIGATION GRANTS.—Financial grants shall be used to
137 encourage single-family, site-built, owner-occupied, residential
138 property owners to retrofit their properties to make them less
139 vulnerable to hurricane damage.
140 (a) For a homeowner to be eligible for a grant, the
141 following criteria must be met:
142 1. The homeowner must have been granted a homestead
143 exemption on the home under chapter 196.
144 2. The home must be a dwelling with an insured value of
145 $500,000 or less. Homeowners who are low-income persons, as
146 defined in s. 420.0004(11), are exempt from this requirement.
147 3. The home must undergo have undergone an acceptable
148 hurricane mitigation inspection as provided in subsection (1)
149 after July 1, 2008.
150 4. The home must be located in the “wind-borne debris
151 region” as that term is defined in the Florida Building Code.
152 5. The building permit application for initial construction
153 of the home must have been made before January 1, 2008.
154 5. 6. The homeowner must agree to make his or her home
155 available for inspection once a mitigation project is completed.
157 An application for a grant must contain a signed or
158 electronically verified statement made under penalty of perjury
159 that the applicant has submitted only a single application and
160 must have attached documents demonstrating the applicant meets
161 the requirements of this paragraph.
162 (b) All grants must be matched on the basis of $1 provided
163 by the applicant for $2 provided by the state up to a maximum
164 state contribution of $10,000 toward the actual cost of the
165 mitigation project.
166 (c) The program shall create a process in which contractors
167 agree to participate and homeowners select from a list of
168 participating contractors. All mitigation must be based upon the
169 securing of all required local permits and inspections and must
170 be performed by properly licensed contractors. Mitigation
171 projects are subject to random reinspection of up to at least 5
172 percent of all projects. Hurricane mitigation inspectors
173 qualifying for the program may also participate as mitigation
174 contractors as long as the inspectors meet the department’s
175 qualifications and certification requirements for mitigation
177 (d) Matching fund grants shall also be made available to
178 local governments and nonprofit entities for projects that will
179 reduce hurricane damage to single-family, site-built, owner
180 occupied, residential property. The department shall liberally
181 construe those requirements in favor of availing the state of
182 the opportunity to leverage funding for the My Safe Florida Home
183 Program with other sources of funding.
184 (e) When recommended by a hurricane mitigation inspection,
185 grants may be used for the following improvements:
186 1. Opening protection.
187 2. Exterior doors, including garage doors.
188 3. Brace gable ends.
189 4. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections.
190 4. 5. Improving the strength of roof-deck attachments.
191 6. Upgrading roof covering from code to code plus.
192 5. 7. Secondary water barrier for roof.
194 The department may require that improvements be made to all
195 openings, including exterior doors and garage doors, as a
196 condition of reimbursing a homeowner approved for a grant. The
197 department may adopt, by rule, the maximum grant allowances for
198 any improvement allowable under this paragraph.
199 (f) Grants may be used on a previously inspected existing
200 structure or on a rebuild. A rebuild is defined as a site-built,
201 single-family dwelling under construction to replace a home that
202 was destroyed or significantly damaged by a hurricane and deemed
203 unlivable by a regulatory authority. The homeowner must be a
204 low-income homeowner as defined in paragraph (g), must have had
205 a homestead exemption for that home before prior to the
206 hurricane, and must be intending to rebuild the home as that
207 homeowner’s homestead.
208 (g) Low-income homeowners, as defined in s. 420.0004(11),
209 who otherwise meet the requirements of paragraphs (a), (c), (e),
210 and (f) are eligible for a grant of up to $10,000 $5,000 and are
211 not required to provide a matching amount to receive the grant.
212 Additionally, for low-income homeowners, grant funding may be
213 used for repair to existing structures leading to any of the
214 mitigation improvements provided in paragraph (e), limited to 20
215 percent of the grant value. The program may accept a
216 certification directly from a low-income homeowner that the
217 homeowner meets the requirements of s. 420.0004(11) if the
218 homeowner provides such certification in a signed or
219 electronically verified statement made under penalty of perjury.
220 (h) The department shall establish objective, reasonable
221 criteria for prioritizing grant applications, consistent with
222 the requirements of this section.
223 (i) The department shall develop a process that ensures the
224 most efficient means to collect and verify grant applications to
225 determine eligibility and may direct hurricane mitigation
226 inspectors to collect and verify grant application information
227 or use the Internet or other electronic means to collect
228 information and determine eligibility.
229 (3) EDUCATION, AND CONSUMER AWARENESS, AND OUTREACH.—
230 (a) The department may undertake a statewide multimedia
231 public outreach and advertising campaign to inform consumers of
232 the availability and benefits of hurricane inspections and of
233 the safety and financial benefits of residential hurricane
234 damage mitigation. The department may seek out and use local,
235 state, federal, and private funds to support the campaign.
236 (b) The program may develop brochures for distribution to
237 Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, general contractors,
238 roofing contractors, and real estate brokers and sales
239 associates who are licensed under part I of chapter 475 which
240 provide information on the benefits to homeowners of residential
241 hurricane damage mitigation. Citizens Property Insurance
242 Corporation is encouraged to distribute the brochure to its
243 policyholders. Contractors are encouraged to distribute the
244 brochures to homeowners at the first meeting with a homeowner
245 who is considering contracting for home or roof repair or
246 contracting for the construction of a new home. Real estate
247 brokers and sales associates are encouraged to distribute the
248 brochure to clients before the purchase of a home. The brochures
249 may be made available electronically.
250 (4) FUNDING.—The department may seek out and leverage
251 local, state, federal, or private funds to enhance the financial
252 resources of the program.
253 (5) RULES.—The Department of Financial Services shall adopt
254 rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to govern the
255 program; implement the provisions of this section; including
256 rules governing hurricane mitigation inspections and grants,
257 mitigation contractors, and training of inspectors and
258 contractors; and carry out the duties of the department under
259 this section.
260 (6) HURRICANE MITIGATION INSPECTOR LIST.—The department
261 shall develop and maintain as a public record a current list of
262 hurricane mitigation inspectors authorized to conduct hurricane
263 mitigation inspections pursuant to this section.
264 (7) PUBLIC OUTREACH FOR CONTRACTORS AND REAL ESTATE BROKERS
265 AND SALES ASSOCIATES.—The program shall develop brochures for
266 distribution to general contractors, roofing contractors, and
267 real estate brokers and sales associates licensed under part I
268 of chapter 475 explaining the benefits to homeowners of
269 residential hurricane damage mitigation. The program shall
270 encourage contractors to distribute the brochures to homeowners
271 at the first meeting with a homeowner who is considering
272 contracting for home or roof repairs or contracting for the
273 construction of a new home. The program shall encourage real
274 estate brokers and sales associates licensed under part I of
275 chapter 475 to distribute the brochures to clients prior to the
276 purchase of a home. The brochures may be made available
278 (8) CONTRACT MANAGEMENT.—
279 (a) The department may contract with third parties for
280 grants management, inspection services, contractor services for
281 low-income homeowners, information technology, educational
282 outreach, and auditing services. Such contracts are shall be
283 considered direct costs of the program and are shall not be
284 subject to administrative cost limits , but contracts valued at
285 $1 million or more shall be subject to review and approval by
286 the Legislative Budget Commission. The department shall contract
287 with providers that have a demonstrated record of successful
288 business operations in areas directly related to the services to
289 be provided and shall ensure the highest accountability for use
290 of state funds, consistent with this section.
291 (b) The department shall implement a quality assurance and
292 reinspection program that determines whether initial inspections
293 and home improvements are completed in a manner consistent with
294 the intent of the program. The department may use valid random
295 sampling in order to perform the quality assurance portion of
296 the program.
297 (8) (9) INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature that
298 grants made to residential property owners under this section
299 shall be considered disaster-relief assistance within the
300 meaning of s. 139 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as
302 (9) (10) REPORTS.—The department shall make an annual report
303 on the activities of the program that shall account for the use
304 of state funds and indicate the number of inspections requested,
305 the number of inspections performed, the number of grant
306 applications received, the number and value of grants approved,
307 and the estimated average annual amount of insurance premium
308 discounts and total estimated annual amount of insurance premium
309 discounts homeowners received from insurers as a result of
310 mitigation funded through the program. The report must shall be
311 delivered to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
312 House of Representatives by February 1 of each year.
313 Section 2. For the purpose of incorporating the amendments
314 made by this act to section 215.5586, Florida Statutes, in a
315 reference thereto, subsection (3) of section 215.5588, Florida
316 Statutes, is reenacted to read:
317 215.5588 Florida Disaster Recovery Program.—
318 (3) Up to 78 percent of these funds may be used to
319 complement the grants awarded by the Department of Financial
320 Services under s. 215.5586 and fund other eligible disaster
321 related activities supporting housing rehabilitation, hardening,
322 mitigation, and infrastructure improvements at the request of
323 the local governments in order to assist the State of Florida in
324 better serving low-income homeowners in single-family housing
325 units, including, but not limited to, condominiums. Up to 20
326 percent of the funds may be used to provide inspections and
327 mitigation improvements to multifamily units receiving rental
328 assistance under projects of the United States Department of
329 Housing and Urban Development or the Rural Development Division
330 of the United States Department of Agriculture.
331 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.