CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – A local lawmaker has introduced a bill that could protect homeowners from incurring upgrade costs to their property when a municipality improves an area.

House Bill 646, introduced by State Representative Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, creates protections for homeowners who would finance incurred costs through R-PACE loans (residential property assessed clean energy loans) for things like new street lighting, sewer systems and underground utility lines, to name a few.

When these upgrades happen, A PACE loan helps the homeowner with upfront costs through a property assessment that is paid over time. A PACE assessment is a debt of property, meaning the debt is tied to the property as opposed to the property owner, but when that property is sold or transferred, the new owner must agree to the assessment or proceeds from the sale must pay off the PACE loan.

Cutrona said the laws governing PACE loans throughout the United States are uneven, leading to congress encouraging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to implement rules on them.

“Given this direction from congress, it would not be wise of any municipality to entertain adopting R-PACE programs without further rules being created, vetted, and tested,” Cutrona said. “R-PACE loans are in need of serious regulation, and their negative consequences to be understood by Ohio consumers, especially by middle and middle-lower class homeowners.” 

House Bill 646 will create numerous rules and regulations regarding R-PACE loans to ensure Ohio Homeowners have protections in place, should they choose to accept them.