NOTE: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Rhode Island has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Rhode Island offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.) After January 1, 2014, a town or city council may adopt a resolution to designate itself a PACE municipality. Both residential and commercial property owners in a PACE municipality can enter into a written agreement with the local government to have a PACE assessment lien placed on their property. The lien will be subordinate to all other liens on the property at the time the PACE lien takes effect. Commercial property includes any property operated for commercial purpose, or a residential property that contains five or more housing units. The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank can enter into agreements with an approved institution to create a Loan Loss Reserve Fund. In the event that there is a foreclosure on a property with a PACE assessment, the Loan Loss Reserve Fund will cover the past due balance of the PACE assessment. The Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank will also publish a list of eligible types of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will qualify for PACE financing. The office will also develop informational resources to help residents understand PACE financing, and provide technical assistance to and offer to manage PACE programs on behalf of any PACE municipality.