Dennis Baxley: Pass our pandemic ‘Safe HOA’ bill

homeowners insurance (Large)
Associations are keeping us safe, informed, employed, connected and competitive.

Florida homeowners love the benefits of community associations. This has been especially true during this pandemic. Neighborhoods in my district, such as Spruce Creek, Stonecrest, and SummerGlenn, exemplify the unmatched professionalism and care of Florida’s community associations.

Because Floridians have been confined to their homes for any number of reasons — working, quarantining, or otherwise just staying home during this pandemic, our homes and neighborhoods have turned into even more critical hubs where safety, transparency, and planning can be the difference between sickness and health, employment and unemployment.

Attracted by our low-tax economy and envy-of-the-world weather, Florida’s population continues to expand at a rate of 1,000 new residents a day. As a result, associations are now playing a more pivotal role to the success of our state by keeping our housing costs low and home values increasing.

Associations are keeping us safe, informed, employed, connected and competitive.

Against this backdrop, it is imperative that we modernize our community association laws to include needed pandemic-related procedures and new technologies.

And that’s why I introduced Senate Bill 630 with Sen. Travis Hutson and House Bill 867 by Rep. Jason Shoaf.

This legislation will allow association boards to safely attend meetings telephonically or by video communication like Zoom during a state of emergency. It will also allow for emergency plans to mitigate any local outbreaks.

The legislation will also increase transparency for everyone while improving the efficiency of association functions. That means allowing mobile-friendly platforms, mandating timely meeting notices, and posting of important documents to keep our homeowners connected to the issues that matter to them and their quality of life.

In keeping with our low-tax, low-cost approach, the bill reduces costs on Florida homeowners by ensuring any new cost is paid by those who owe it, not other homeowners.

Our Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls have made it very clear that our job is to keep Florida prosperous and growing. That’s exactly what this legislation does.

When it comes to those who call a community association their home, Florida leads the nation. More than half of Florida’s population lives in a community association.  That means either you or one of your family members will be directly impacted by this bill.

I’m proud of this bill and honored to have the support of community associations around this state and the industry of licensed managers who are employed by those associations, Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies. These associations and their managers have been true heroes and allies during a dark time in our country.

Homeowners deserve this bill to pass in the 2021 Florida Legislative Session.

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Sen. Dennis Baxley represents SD 12, which includes Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion counties.

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