COVID-19 FAQ – Issue #3: How Should Moves and Unit Showings Be Handled?

As the province enters another week of social distancing and self-isolation, many condominium Managers and Boards may be wondering how the approach to certain building operations should be changed to ensure public health and safety.

How should moves into and out of condominium buildings be handled?

Despite the current situation surrounding COVID-19, with the start of the month upon us, many condominium corporations may continue to see an increase in residents moving in or out of their buildings. In order to ensure the safety of the residents within the building in addition to those involved in the move, each condominium Board will need to consider how best to manage moves into and out of their communities.

Boards of high-rise condominium buildings in particular may face challenges with arranging moves due to the inevitable increase in traffic across the common areas. Some considerations these Boards may need to think about include:

  • Requiring the incoming/outgoing residents to arrange for a specific time for their move, with sufficient notice to the Board;
  • Imposing restrictions around times/durations of moves;
  • Notifying all other residents of the anticipated move times/durations and requesting that access to the common elements be limited during the move;
  • Inquiring into the recent travel history and/or health status (with respect to COVID-19) of the incoming/outgoing residents as well as their service providers [Boards may decide not to permit the move if public health risks are present];
  • Restricting common element access by incoming/outgoing residents and their service providers (i.e. only allowing them to enter through the front door and use a designated elevator); and
  • Arranging for immediate cleaning/sanitizing of the affected common element areas following the move with costs to be paid for by the incoming/outgoing residents (if the Declaration permits such chargebacks to units and/or if an agreement is reached in advance in this respect).

Should unit showings continue during this time?

While the Ontario government has deemed Real Estate an essential business, Realtors are required to follow Public Health Protocols in continuing to provide their services.

Last week, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), issued a notice to the profession that current real estate services should not be operating on a “business as usual” basis. In particular, RECO strongly recommended that brokerages and salespeople decline to facilitate or participate in open houses and that they limit showings to only where absolutely necessary. [This approach is very much in line with the Provincial government’s order to prohibit gatherings of more than 5 people (see our blog post on this topic here).]

RECO further recommended that Real Estate businesses adopt strategies to promote social distancing through use of virtual tours, digital floor plans, electronic documents and signatures, videoconferencing with clients etc.

Ultimately, as with all measures recommended by Public Health professionals across the country, there should be a concerted effort toward reducing (and where possible, eliminating) physical interactions between individuals during this time.

We hope this information is useful to you. We will be bringing you more blogs as questions regarding COVID-19 and how it affects various aspects of condominium living keep coming in.