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COVID-19 “Coronavirus” Actions for your HOA or Community Association

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April 17th, 2020

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

On March 27, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) issued Emergency Order 2020-04 (found here), which clarifies that community associations, including condominium, homeowner and cooperative associations, can exercise the use of emergency powers in light of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the world and the everyday lives of Americans.  This global pandemic has also created new issues for community associations, many of which have never been formally addressed by the court systems.  As such, most community associations are having to navigate through uncharted waters as they encounter novel issues and consider challenging questions of whether to close common areas and amenities or whether (and how) to reschedule meetings and elections.

As a community, the Board of Directors should operate with due diligence to keep your residents informed, and this should be a priority on your meeting agendas. You may have common areas such as a community park, pool, clubhouse, or golf course that are no longer open to your residents. Are you asking residents to avoid these areas, practice distancing, or should you close them down completely? We recommend extensive cleaning, disinfecting, and wiping down surfaces in the common areas and amenities on a regular basis. If you are in a 55+ community, shutting down your common areas may be essential. What if a homeowner has symptoms of COVID-19? As the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) guidelines state, you are urged to stay home and avoid public spaces if you exhibit symptoms of the virus, as well as separating yourself from other persons residing within your home, if at all possible. There are steps in place you must follow prior to testing, which can also be found in the CDC guidelines.

As this pandemic has also caused many homeowners to be out of a job, we recommend more flexible practices when it comes to collection of assessments. We have found that many homeowners are open to monthly payment plans to avoid liens or foreclosure. Luckily, most communities have gotten past their annual meetings, but many have monthly or quarterly meetings which are now affected. Rather than postponing or canceling these meetings, it is an opportunity for your community to become more technology friendly and still hold regularly scheduled meetings, so business is not delayed.

For more information, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) guidelines can be found here.

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