Florida Senate - 2023                              CS for SB 748
       By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Boyd
       597-02624-23                                           2023748c1
    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:
   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
   69  damage.
   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
   82  inspection.
   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
  126  reinspections.
  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
  176  contractors.
  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.
  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.
  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
  277  electronically.
  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
  301  amended.
  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.