Florida Lien Law Update 2017: What has changed?

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Construction professionals working in Florida need to be aware of changes in the law that may affect their businesses, especially if they’re working in areas affected by the growing prevalence of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program or using self-storage facilities.

Self-Storage Lien Law

On June 9, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 357 that allows operators of self-storage units a variety of additional rights regarding the property stored on their premises. They are now allowed to issue late fees of either $20 or 20% of the rent, hold online auctions for liens, limit the value of items stored on their premises, and tow motor vehicles after they have been in default for 60 days. Operators are still required to publish notice or post advertisements before items are auctioned.

Tampa Discusses Program to Finance Energy Efficient Upgrades

Tampa, FL is discussing whether to implement a state-authorized program that helps property owners finance upgrades and renovations to their homes that increase energy efficiency and storm protection. Their vote will determine whether the PACE program will operate in city limits.

The PACE program allows lenders to give loans for solar panels, roofs, insulation, weather stripping, and more in an effort to improve a home’s energy efficiency or help it when weather strikes. The lenders have authorized contractors who make the improvements and the debt is capped at 20% of the home’s value. These upgrades are financed over five to 20 years and appear as an annual assessment on the owner’s property tax bill rather than as a separate debt.

Liens from the PACE program are given status similar to tax assessments and thus take precedence over other mortgages and liens, creating problems for other contractors who want to work on the home and owners who are looking to sell or refinance their homes. Further, since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not buy a mortgage when there is a PACE lien on a home, making properties significantly harder to sell as primary lenders don’t want to make loans for these properties.

Staying on top of the many changes in Florida lien law and construction law is part of what makes the team at National Lien & Bond effective. We keep up with the latest news to make sure we’re providing our clients the best advice and counsel.

 

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