Sample Notice to Residents

Posted by on May 15, 2020 in COVID-19

Following is a sample letter to residents, where disclosure of identity has not been authorized. It should be modified appropriately if the ill person is a vendor or a member of the staff.

Dear Residents:

The Board of Trustees/Directors of ____________ Association has been notified that a resident or vendor of the community has tested positive for the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The resident is quarantined in the resident’s home.

All efforts have been and will continue to be made to maximize the safety of our residents, visitors and staff.

To comply with relevant privacy concerns, we are not permitted to disclose the identity of the resident. We also ask that you not distribute any rumors or guesses regarding any ill resident on social media.

This notice serves as an official notification of this occurrence. We urge all residents to follow the recommendations of the public health authorities such as the CDC, available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

On behalf of the Board and Management, we send wishes of a speedy recovery to our neighbors who are ill and appreciate their notifying us of their situations. We also appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Please let Management know if you have questions or concerns.

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Elections

Posted by on May 7, 2020 in COVID-19, Elections/Voting

If your association’s annual election is approaching, you likely have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting governmental restrictions will affect your ability to hold your election. Should we reschedule the election? What if we have already sent out the request for nominations? What if there are no more candidates than there are open seats? What if we’ve already sent out the ballots? The answer is…it depends.

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Board Meetings

Posted by on May 5, 2020 in Board Meetings, COVID-19

Even during times of a state and/or federal emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for a common interest community association to keep functioning in order to promote and protect the health and safety of its residents and their financial interest in their homes. Some would argue that this is especially important during such times.

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Pool Contracts

Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in COVID-19, Uncategorized

One of the big questions facing associations at this moment is whether to go through the process of opening the pool. Should we do it now, as most pool companies are pushing—or should we wait and see what happens in a month? What if we haven’t even signed our pool contract? Should we sign it or just forget this season?

The decision is largely a business one, as the particular facts and circumstances of associations vary greatly. There are, however, a few key concerns that face all associations:

  • Will the pool be damaged if we don’t open it and run the filtration system?
  • If we have a signed contract, will we be liable to the contractor for the entire amount?
  • If the “social distancing” requirements are lifted, do we want to be ready or risk facing an angry reaction from the owners? Or if this continues, will we be criticized for wasting our members’ money?

First, our research indicates that even if pools are not going to be open for swimming this season, it is necessary to open, chemically treat and run the filtration system from a pool health standpoint. There is a real possibility that if you don’t open the pool, the pool surface may become irretrievably stained and there might be permanent damage to the filtration system. Remember that if it’s opened but not used, you need to keep it running and maintained but at a reduced level (sufficient to protect the pool but not suitable for swimming).

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Protecting Maintenance Staff

Posted by on Apr 28, 2020 in COVID-19, Uncategorized

In dealing with an ill resident, maintenance and repairs within homes also need to be taken into consideration. Non-essential maintenance or service within a home should be avoided to prevent inadvertent spread of infection.

The HUD guidelines indicate that where immediate maintenance or repair is required within a home, maintenance staff or contractors may ask whether any resident in the home has contracted the disease. Persons who do not feel safe entering a home cannot be required to do so. However, if maintenance or repair is necessary to protect health or safety, the staff or contractor should take appropriate protective measures when entering the home, including utilizing personal protection equipment and following public health and CDC recommendations.

We do not believe that any special notice besides warning the virus has been reported is required in the unfortunate case of a death. It is important to notify residents of an occurrence of the illness so that they may take recommended precautions, but the precautions to be taken by other residents do not change because an ill person has died. Where an association routinely announces resident deaths in order to share its condolences, we suggest that the association suspend that practice to avoid giving an impression, possibly incorrect, that all recent deaths are due to the virus and thereby spread further anxiety.

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Protecting Residents’ Privacy

Posted by on Apr 21, 2020 in COVID-19, Uncategorized

Should we report residents’ illnesses to other residents?

There are no statutes that require community associations to report residents’ illnesses to other residents. On the other hand, associations may not simply ignore the public health risk created by residents who have a communicable disease such as COVID-19. Although HIPPA laws regarding patient privacy do not apply to community associations, associations are obligated to respect the privacy of their residents and so must balance the need to warn residents against individual privacy.

Residents’ identities should not be disclosed without their consent

Guidance for community associations is available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guidelines for multiple housing. HUD advises that housing providers may give notification of positive COVID-19 cases to other residents without giving the name, address or other personal identification of the ill person. Mere possible exposure to a person who may have contacted an ill person does not any warrant notification. If an association becomes aware of a particular resident who is ill, residents may be warned that a case of the illness has been reported and advised to undertake protective measures for themselves:

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