By Elia Associates -
Further to the recent press release from OREA on May 5th, 2020 https://www.orea.com/News-and-Events/News-and-Press-Releases/Press-Releases/May-5-2020 and the beginning of Stage 1 of Ontario’s reopening, we wanted to share some thoughts on how to proceed with managing people on your property. We would also confirm that showings should only be allowed where the condominium’s COVID 19 protocols are ready to go and are being adhered to. If you do not have COVID 19 Protocols, it is prudent to establish them in order to allow life in a condominium to normalize.
Pursuant to the Condominium Act, 1998, the objects of the Corporation are to manage the property and the assets of the Corporation on behalf of owners. The Corporation is also the occupier for liability purposes under the Act. As we enter Stage 1 of the Reopening Plan, what does this mean during a pandemic?
First, there is a virus and there is no cure for the virus. Thus, we must effect a shift in our thinking and practices and normalize our lives against the virus so that we curtail the spread of the same overtime. The only way to lead our lives is to integrate protection mechanisms founded in solid logic into our condo lives and our lives period. Going to the grocery store, will not be the same for a very long time. Practically speaking, economically the majority of the world cannot sit and wait, and not engage in economic activities, hence the opening of retail but on strict conditions.
Second, let us recognize that Condominiums are special environments because many people often reside under one roof, so one size does not fit all. Condominium Boards are obligated to act reasonably and prudently in executing their obligations. Thus, we must manage our environments intelligently.
Each Corporation must consider virus transmission among unit owners on the common elements, in amenity spaces (both indoor and outdoor), and then via unit operations. In our opinion, a Corporation must identify, analyze and minimize the risk of transmission.
With respect to Real Estate showings, work with agents, Vendors and Purchasers to set up sensible protocols. However, if you are not ready, then you do not have to permit showings.
First, open houses are still prohibited.
Second, embrace technology, virtual tours are effective, efficient and most importantly safe.
Third, if there is a desire to have in-suite showings, the Corporation must be satisfied that adequate protocols are being adhered to - otherwise refuse entry.
What does this mean?
A meaningful questionnaire;
Measuring Temperature, possibly;
Gloves, masks and possibly removal of outerwear – such as a coat or a jacket, if the weather is still cold;
Agreed to times for showings;
Sign-ins for showings;
No lock boxes;
No amenity showings – straight to the unit;
Consent from the unit owner;
Sanitization of common elements;
Warnings to residents about strangers in the building; and
If there is an outbreak in your condo, let strangers know that you are denying access since there has been an outbreak.
Have one entry way for visitors during certain hours.
Consider the community demographic - proportion of seniors when implementing policies.
Consider the community interests vs. personal, moving out, interests.
Limit number of people given access to no more than two plus one agent.
Have parties sign an acknowledgement and agreement to comply with COVID 19 protocols.