Florida Senate - 2023                       CS for CS for SB 748
       By the Committees on Fiscal Policy; and Banking and Insurance;
       and Senator Boyd
       594-04111-23                                           2023748c2
    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 of site-built,
    6         single-family, residential properties that have been
    7         granted a homestead exemption; authorizing an
    8         inspector to inspect townhouses to determine if a
    9         certain mitigation would provide improvements to
   10         mitigate hurricane damage; revising the information
   11         provided to homeowners as part of a hurricane
   12         mitigation inspection; revising the hurricane
   13         mitigation inspectors that may be selected by the
   14         Department of Financial Services to provide hurricane
   15         mitigation inspections; deleting a provision requiring
   16         the department to implement a certain quality
   17         assurance program; revising the criteria for
   18         mitigation grant eligibility for homeowners; deleting
   19         a provision that subjects mitigation projects to
   20         random reinspection for a specified timeframe;
   21         revising the improvements for eligible homes for which
   22         mitigation grants may be used; providing that such
   23         grants for townhouses may be used only for a specified
   24         purpose; authorizing the department to adopt a
   25         specified rule; revising the amount low-income
   26         homeowners may receive from the department under the
   27         grant program; deleting a provision authorizing low
   28         income homeowners to use grant funds for specified
   29         purposes; deleting a requirement that the department
   30         establish specified criteria for prioritizing grant
   31         applications; authorizing, rather than requiring, the
   32         program to develop and distribute certain brochures to
   33         specified persons; deleting a provision requiring
   34         certain contracts entered into by the department to be
   35         reviewed and approved by the Legislative Budget
   36         Commission; requiring the department to develop a
   37         certain quality assurance and reinspection program;
   38         revising the contents of the annual report the
   39         department is required to deliver to the Legislature;
   40         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   41         making technical changes; reenacting s. 215.5588(3),
   42         F.S., relating to the Florida Disaster Recovery
   43         Program, to incorporate the amendments made to s.
   44         215.5586, F.S., in a reference thereto; providing an
   45         effective date.
   47  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   49         Section 1. Section 215.5586, Florida Statutes, is amended
   50  to read:
   51         215.5586 My Safe Florida Home Program.—There is established
   52  within the Department of Financial Services the My Safe Florida
   53  Home Program. The department shall provide fiscal
   54  accountability, contract management, and strategic leadership
   55  for the program, consistent with this section. This section does
   56  not create an entitlement for property owners or obligate the
   57  state in any way to fund the inspection or retrofitting of
   58  residential property in this state. Implementation of this
   59  program is subject to annual legislative appropriations. It is
   60  the intent of the Legislature that the My Safe Florida Home
   61  Program provide licensed trained and certified inspectors to
   62  perform inspections for owners of site-built, single-family,
   63  residential properties and grants to eligible applicants as
   64  funding allows. The program shall develop and implement a
   65  comprehensive and coordinated approach for hurricane damage
   66  mitigation that may include the following:
   68         (a) Licensed Certified inspectors are to provide home home
   69  retrofit inspections of site-built, single-family, residential
   70  properties for which a homestead exemption has been granted,
   71  property may be offered to determine what mitigation measures
   72  are needed, what insurance premium discounts may be available,
   73  and what improvements to existing residential properties are
   74  needed to reduce the property’s vulnerability to hurricane
   75  damage. An inspector may inspect a townhouse as defined in s.
   76  481.203 to determine if opening protection mitigation as listed
   77  in paragraph (2)(f) would provide improvements to mitigate
   78  hurricane damage.
   79         (b) The Department of Financial Services shall contract
   80  with wind certification entities to provide hurricane mitigation
   81  inspections. The inspections provided to homeowners, at a
   82  minimum, must include:
   83         1. A home inspection and report that summarizes the results
   84  and identifies recommended improvements a homeowner may take to
   85  mitigate hurricane damage.
   86         2. A range of cost estimates regarding the recommended
   87  mitigation improvements.
   88         3. Insurer-specific Information regarding estimated premium
   89  discounts, correlated to the current mitigation features and the
   90  recommended mitigation improvements identified by the
   91  inspection.
   92         (c)(b) To qualify for selection by the department as a wind
   93  certification entity to provide hurricane mitigation
   94  inspections, the entity must shall, at a minimum, meet the
   95  following requirements:
   96         1. Use hurricane mitigation inspectors who are licensed or
   97  certified as:
   98         a. Are certified as A building inspector under s. 468.607;
   99         b. Are licensed as A general, building, or residential
  100  contractor under s. 489.111;
  101         c. Are licensed as A professional engineer under s. 471.015
  102  and who have passed the appropriate equivalency test of the
  103  building code training program as required by s. 553.841;
  104         d. Are licensed as A professional architect under s.
  105  481.213; or
  106         e. A home inspector under s. 468.8314 and who have
  107  completed at least 3 hours of hurricane mitigation training
  108  approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, which
  109  training must include hurricane mitigation techniques,
  110  compliance with the uniform mitigation verification form, and
  111  completion of a proficiency exam Have at least 2 years of
  112  experience in residential construction or residential building
  113  inspection and have received specialized training in hurricane
  114  mitigation procedures. Such training may be provided by a class
  115  offered online or in person.
  116         2. Use hurricane mitigation inspectors who also:
  117         a. have undergone drug testing and a background screening.
  118  The department may conduct criminal record checks of inspectors
  119  used by wind certification entities. Inspectors must submit a
  120  set of the fingerprints to the department for state and national
  121  criminal history checks and must pay the fingerprint processing
  122  fee set forth in s. 624.501. The fingerprints must shall be sent
  123  by the department to the Department of Law Enforcement and
  124  forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for processing.
  125  The results must shall be returned to the department for
  126  screening. The fingerprints must shall be taken by a law
  127  enforcement agency, designated examination center, or other
  128  department-approved entity; and
  129         b.Have been certified, in a manner satisfactory to the
  130  department, to conduct the inspections.
  131         3. Provide a quality assurance program including a
  132  reinspection component.
  133         (c)The department shall implement a quality assurance
  134  program that includes a statistically valid number of
  135  reinspections.
  136         (d) An application for an inspection must contain a signed
  137  or electronically verified statement made under penalty of
  138  perjury that the applicant has submitted only a single
  139  application for that home.
  140         (e) The owner of a site-built, single-family, residential
  141  property or townhouse as defined in s. 481.203 for which a
  142  homestead exemption has been granted may apply for and receive
  143  an inspection without also applying for a grant pursuant to
  144  subsection (2) and without meeting the requirements of paragraph
  145  (2)(a).
  146         (2) MITIGATION GRANTS.—Financial grants shall be used to
  147  encourage single-family, site-built, owner-occupied, residential
  148  property owners to retrofit their properties to make them less
  149  vulnerable to hurricane damage.
  150         (a) For a homeowner to be eligible for a grant, the
  151  following criteria must be met:
  152         1. The homeowner must have been granted a homestead
  153  exemption on the home under chapter 196.
  154         2. The home must be a dwelling with an insured value of
  155  $700,000 $500,000 or less. Homeowners who are low-income
  156  persons, as defined in s. 420.0004(11), are exempt from this
  157  requirement.
  158         3. The home must undergo have undergone an acceptable
  159  hurricane mitigation inspection as provided in subsection (1)
  160  after July 1, 2008.
  161         4. The home must be located in the “wind-borne debris
  162  region” as that term is defined in the Florida Building Code.
  163         5. The building permit application for initial construction
  164  of the home must have been made before January 1, 2008.
  165         5.6. The homeowner must agree to make his or her home
  166  available for inspection once a mitigation project is completed.
  168  An application for a grant must contain a signed or
  169  electronically verified statement made under penalty of perjury
  170  that the applicant has submitted only a single application and
  171  must have attached documents demonstrating the applicant meets
  172  the requirements of this paragraph.
  173         (b) All grants must be matched on the basis of $1 provided
  174  by the applicant for $2 provided by the state up to a maximum
  175  state contribution of $10,000 toward the actual cost of the
  176  mitigation project.
  177         (c) The program shall create a process in which contractors
  178  agree to participate and homeowners select from a list of
  179  participating contractors. All mitigation must be based upon the
  180  securing of all required local permits and inspections and must
  181  be performed by properly licensed contractors. Mitigation
  182  projects are subject to random reinspection of up to at least 5
  183  percent of all projects. Hurricane mitigation inspectors
  184  qualifying for the program may also participate as mitigation
  185  contractors as long as the inspectors meet the department’s
  186  qualifications and certification requirements for mitigation
  187  contractors.
  188         (d) Matching fund grants shall also be made available to
  189  local governments and nonprofit entities for projects that will
  190  reduce hurricane damage to single-family, site-built, owner
  191  occupied, residential property. The department shall liberally
  192  construe those requirements in favor of availing the state of
  193  the opportunity to leverage funding for the My Safe Florida Home
  194  Program with other sources of funding.
  195         (e) When recommended by a hurricane mitigation inspection,
  196  grants for eligible homes may be used for the following
  197  improvements:
  198         1. Opening protection.
  199         2. Exterior doors, including garage doors.
  200         3. Brace gable ends.
  201         4. Reinforcing roof-to-wall connections.
  202         4.5. Improving the strength of roof-deck attachments.
  203         6.Upgrading roof covering from code to code plus.
  204         5.7. Secondary water barrier for roof.
  205         (f)When recommended by a hurricane mitigation inspection,
  206  grants for townhouses as defined in s. 481.203 may be used only
  207  for opening protection.
  209  The department may require that improvements be made to all
  210  openings, including exterior doors and garage doors, as a
  211  condition of reimbursing a homeowner approved for a grant. The
  212  department may adopt, by rule, the maximum grant allowances for
  213  any improvement allowable under paragraph (e) or this paragraph.
  214         (g)(f) Grants may be used on a previously inspected
  215  existing structure or on a rebuild. A rebuild is defined as a
  216  site-built, single-family dwelling under construction to replace
  217  a home that was destroyed or significantly damaged by a
  218  hurricane and deemed unlivable by a regulatory authority. The
  219  homeowner must be a low-income homeowner as defined in paragraph
  220  (h) (g), must have had a homestead exemption for that home
  221  before prior to the hurricane, and must be intending to rebuild
  222  the home as that homeowner’s homestead.
  223         (h)(g) Low-income homeowners, as defined in s.
  224  420.0004(11), who otherwise meet the requirements of paragraphs
  225  (a), (c), (e), and (g) (f) are eligible for a grant of up to
  226  $10,000 $5,000 and are not required to provide a matching amount
  227  to receive the grant. Additionally, for low-income homeowners,
  228  grant funding may be used for repair to existing structures
  229  leading to any of the mitigation improvements provided in
  230  paragraph (e), limited to 20 percent of the grant value. The
  231  program may accept a certification directly from a low-income
  232  homeowner that the homeowner meets the requirements of s.
  233  420.0004(11) if the homeowner provides such certification in a
  234  signed or electronically verified statement made under penalty
  235  of perjury.
  236         (h)The department shall establish objective, reasonable
  237  criteria for prioritizing grant applications, consistent with
  238  the requirements of this section.
  239         (i) The department shall develop a process that ensures the
  240  most efficient means to collect and verify grant applications to
  241  determine eligibility and may direct hurricane mitigation
  242  inspectors to collect and verify grant application information
  243  or use the Internet or other electronic means to collect
  244  information and determine eligibility.
  246         (a) The department may undertake a statewide multimedia
  247  public outreach and advertising campaign to inform consumers of
  248  the availability and benefits of hurricane inspections and of
  249  the safety and financial benefits of residential hurricane
  250  damage mitigation. The department may seek out and use local,
  251  state, federal, and private funds to support the campaign.
  252         (b)The program may develop brochures for distribution to
  253  Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, general contractors,
  254  roofing contractors, and real estate brokers and sales
  255  associates who are licensed under part I of chapter 475 which
  256  provide information on the benefits to homeowners of residential
  257  hurricane damage mitigation. Citizens Property Insurance
  258  Corporation is encouraged to distribute the brochure to its
  259  policyholders. Contractors are encouraged to distribute the
  260  brochures to homeowners at the first meeting with a homeowner
  261  who is considering contracting for home or roof repair or
  262  contracting for the construction of a new home. Real estate
  263  brokers and sales associates are encouraged to distribute the
  264  brochure to clients before the purchase of a home. The brochures
  265  may be made available electronically.
  266         (4) FUNDING.—The department may seek out and leverage
  267  local, state, federal, or private funds to enhance the financial
  268  resources of the program.
  269         (5) RULES.—The Department of Financial Services shall adopt
  270  rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to govern the
  271  program; implement the provisions of this section; including
  272  rules governing hurricane mitigation inspections and grants,
  273  mitigation contractors, and training of inspectors and
  274  contractors; and carry out the duties of the department under
  275  this section.
  276         (6) HURRICANE MITIGATION INSPECTOR LIST.—The department
  277  shall develop and maintain as a public record a current list of
  278  hurricane mitigation inspectors authorized to conduct hurricane
  279  mitigation inspections pursuant to this section.
  281  AND SALES ASSOCIATES.—The program shall develop brochures for
  282  distribution to general contractors, roofing contractors, and
  283  real estate brokers and sales associates licensed under part I
  284  of chapter 475 explaining the benefits to homeowners of
  285  residential hurricane damage mitigation. The program shall
  286  encourage contractors to distribute the brochures to homeowners
  287  at the first meeting with a homeowner who is considering
  288  contracting for home or roof repairs or contracting for the
  289  construction of a new home. The program shall encourage real
  290  estate brokers and sales associates licensed under part I of
  291  chapter 475 to distribute the brochures to clients prior to the
  292  purchase of a home. The brochures may be made available
  293  electronically.
  294         (8) CONTRACT MANAGEMENT.—
  295         (a) The department may contract with third parties for
  296  grants management, inspection services, contractor services for
  297  low-income homeowners, information technology, educational
  298  outreach, and auditing services. Such contracts are shall be
  299  considered direct costs of the program and are shall not be
  300  subject to administrative cost limits, but contracts valued at
  301  $1 million or more shall be subject to review and approval by
  302  the Legislative Budget Commission. The department shall contract
  303  with providers that have a demonstrated record of successful
  304  business operations in areas directly related to the services to
  305  be provided and shall ensure the highest accountability for use
  306  of state funds, consistent with this section.
  307         (b)The department shall implement a quality assurance and
  308  reinspection program that determines whether initial inspections
  309  and home improvements are completed in a manner consistent with
  310  the intent of the program. The department may use valid random
  311  sampling in order to perform the quality assurance portion of
  312  the program.
  313         (8)(9) INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature that
  314  grants made to residential property owners under this section
  315  shall be considered disaster-relief assistance within the
  316  meaning of s. 139 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as
  317  amended.
  318         (9)(10) REPORTS.—The department shall make an annual report
  319  on the activities of the program that shall account for the use
  320  of state funds and indicate the number of inspections requested,
  321  the number of inspections performed, the number of grant
  322  applications received, the number and value of grants approved,
  323  and the estimated average annual amount of insurance premium
  324  discounts and total estimated annual amount of insurance premium
  325  discounts homeowners received from insurers as a result of
  326  mitigation funded through the program. The report must shall be
  327  delivered to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
  328  House of Representatives by February 1 of each year.
  329         Section 2. For the purpose of incorporating the amendments
  330  made by this act to section 215.5586, Florida Statutes, in a
  331  reference thereto, subsection (3) of section 215.5588, Florida
  332  Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  333         215.5588 Florida Disaster Recovery Program.—
  334         (3) Up to 78 percent of these funds may be used to
  335  complement the grants awarded by the Department of Financial
  336  Services under s. 215.5586 and fund other eligible disaster
  337  related activities supporting housing rehabilitation, hardening,
  338  mitigation, and infrastructure improvements at the request of
  339  the local governments in order to assist the State of Florida in
  340  better serving low-income homeowners in single-family housing
  341  units, including, but not limited to, condominiums. Up to 20
  342  percent of the funds may be used to provide inspections and
  343  mitigation improvements to multifamily units receiving rental
  344  assistance under projects of the United States Department of
  345  Housing and Urban Development or the Rural Development Division
  346  of the United States Department of Agriculture.
  347         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.