The COVID-19 pandemic has people around the world taking precautionary measures in an effort to decrease the spread of and risks from the coronavirus. Residents in an apartment complex and employees and customers of businesses in commercial properties tend to come into close contact with others daily. Landlords, building owners, and property management companies should consider taking the following actions and preventative measures to the extent possible:
#1 – Consult CDC Guidelines Daily for Updates and Changes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has up to date reports on the status of the virus, as well as helpful guidelines for preventative actions and how to handle an outbreak.
#2 – Publish CDC Advice in Common Areas and Send to Tenants Via Email
Notify tenants that you’re closely monitoring the situation, and remind your tenants of preventative measures they should be taking to decrease the likelihood of spreading the illness. You should do this by emailing the recommended steps, linked above, to all tenants. Additionally, we recommend posting the steps in elevators, hallways, and other common areas.
#3 – Increase the Frequency of Cleaning and Sanitizing Highly Trafficked or Touched Areas or Surfaces
Areas that may be highly trafficked or touched in your residential community or commercial property should be cleaned with greater frequency. These areas include doorknobs, elevator call boxes, restroom fixtures, escalators, and lobby areas. Adding hand-sanitizer to highly trafficked common areas is also recommended.
#4 – Consider Cancelling Community Functions and Events
According to the CDC, the virus spreads between those who are in close contact. As a result, you should consider canceling or postponing community events to the extent it is reasonable or possible.
#5 – Talk to a Lawyer About Your Contractual Obligations and Concerns
If you have concerns about your responsibilities in the event of an outbreak at or near your property, you should immediately consult a lawyer about your legal and contractual obligations. Our team can assist you with this and is prepared to answer your legal questions related to COVID-19 in the landlord-tenant context, as well as from a human resource perspective.
ABOUT CRYSTAL KRAMER
Crystal Kramer’s practice is focused on the representation of landlords and property managers of residential and commercial real estate in Virginia. This representation includes Fair Housing disputes and all litigation associated with lease disputes, including breach of lease, unlawful detainer actions, and tenant’s assertion actions. She also provides broader legal advice to her clients on their compliance with various laws, drafts company policies and procedures, reviews and drafts lease agreements, negotiates and drafts settlement agreements, among other general counsel-type tasks.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the United States. With 14 offices in seven states, and the District of Columbia, and growing by 50% in two years through expansions in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina, Offit Kurman is well-positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the individuals who own and operate them. For over 30 years, we’ve represented privately held companies and families of wealth throughout their business life cycles.
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