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COVID SANITATION FEEAug 02, 2020

Has anyone heard of charging a Covid-19 Sanitation Fee for those who move out, regardless of whether they are a shareholder who sold their apartment or a sublet whose lease has not been renewed and is simply moving out ?

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COVID SANITATION FEE - Steven424 Aug 02, 2020

No, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's improper. The specter of contagion from the active virus being left on surfaces after someone moves out is very real, although the longevity of surface contact has been greatly reduced.

Before getting upset, find out what the fee covers. Then do your homework in Google to see if the fee being charged is customary for the work being done. You might ask them for the name of the hazmat company performing the work. You'll probably be told the building super or porter will do the actual sanitizing.

You should then ask for a certification document listing all the areas sanitized, in case you are sued by the next occupant if they claim they contracted COVID-19 from an improperly cleaned apartment. There are probably specs somewhere on the internet on what is considered proper cleaning.

It's a very gray area. If they hire a company or a porter has to spend extra time doing an additional level of cleaning, they are entitled to reimbursement. But if they want to charge you $500 for an hour's extra work by a building employee, it's borderline scam.

Your question made me curious so I did a little research. This article may help: https://aagla.org/2020/06/post-covid-cleaning-and-turnover-protocols-for-your-rental-property/

This is a judgment call on your part. Good luck!

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
COVID SANITATION FEE - HOLLY Aug 05, 2020

Hi Steven424:
Appreciate your reply and let me give more details: This is a Coop in New York, the article you refer to is from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, this is a Coop in New York and not an apartment building and not a Condo, it is a New York Coop that is charging shareholders who sold their unit a Covid Sanitation fee of $300 to move out.

I realize I asked a generalize question and should have said this is not sanitation of the interior of a unit.
This is a fee to wipe down the building’s front door knob and elevator knob.
This is not ‘an additional level of cleaning’ this is literally spraying disinfectant and wiping down the front door and elevator knobs with a paper towel. Again this is not an interior sanitation of a unit. This fee is specifically aimed at shareholders using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company. If a person has 15 friends help them move their belongings out of the building, there is no Covid Sanitation Fee charged and there is no sanitation of the front door or elevator knobs.

Again the cleaning is supposed to happen after the movers have completed the move. While the movers are doing their work, there are residents entering and exiting the building at the same time who are not wearing masks or gloves; the movers are wearing masks and gloves.
While the movers are actively carrying belongings out of the building there is no sanitation happening, so if Covid were to enter into the building it could easily be from those residents not wearing masks or gloves or from anyone entering the building at that time.

If the 15 friends are doing the move out, the Coop cannot and is not requiring the friends wear masks or gloves and the Coop is not sanitizing the front door or elevator knobs after the 15 friend complete the move out. The movers are wearing masks and gloves. If the shareholder does not pay the $300 sanitizing fee they are prohibited from moving out, so the shareholder is being forced to pay the $300 fee in order to simply move out, which is an essential event.

The Coop is not charging Covid Sanitation fees for construction work. Construction workers are removing demo debris and bringing in materials and gear, going in and out for lunch over the span of a week or weeks and for full 8 hour work days, renovating a kitchen is not essential, new carpeting is not essential, moving was deemed essential.

Let’s get into what they are sanitizing:
#1 the front door knobs
#2 the elevator door knob at the lobby entrance
#3 the interior elevator push panel
#4 the elevator knobs on the floor of the shareholder moving out

That is 4 contact points, how long would you say it takes to wipe down 4 contact points? Not an hour, it should be 15 minutes maximum but more like 8 minutes maximum, right?
How much does a roll of paper towel cost? Let’s say $5 and that is generous.
How much for four sprays of Lysol? $15.00 and that is generous.
There should be no labor costs as the sanitizing is happening during the Super’s work day. This 8 minute chore should not be a burden on the Super’s schedule as move-outs are not happening every day, maybe one or two move outs a month. The Coop is already purchasing sanitation supplies in bulk so the cost is lower than $20 for four sheets of paper towel and four sprays of Lysol.

Keep in mind, when a shareholder sells their unit they are required to pay a capital improvement fee back to the Coop which depending upon the unit shares ranges from $1,500 to $4,500 or more and that is hefty sum to leave behind.

I did ‘do your homework’ and found no info that licensed insured professional moving companies specifically increase the risk of Covid which is why I asked if anyone heard of charging a Covid fee specifically for moving out. I wasn’t really seeking an opinion about risks of Covid or concerns of being sued as it would be very difficult to prove where someone contracted Covid. I wanted to know if any Coop was charging a Covid Sanitizing fee for door and elevator knobs which targets those who moved out using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company.

The building is allowing shareholders to renovate their apartments so there are more construction workers going in and out over the course of days where movers who work in teams of 3 are present for an approximate three hour move out. The Coop is allowing door to door deliveries of all sorts and all kinds of services which permit entry into the building and to any floor and into any unit.

So, is any Coop in New York charging a Covid $300 move out Sanitation Fee because they are using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company to carry out their belongings? And what are the thoughts of charging a sanitation fee to wipe down the front door and elevator buttons of a building only in a move out situation?
Would you still consider it a: ‘if they want to charge you $500 for an hour's extra work by a building employee, it's borderline scam.’ Looking forward to your reply!

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COVID SANITATION FEE - DAVE - Dave Sep 24, 2020

Hi, I’m curious what resolution you came to on this? Our coop is trying to charge the same fee. $300. Obviously this is something cooked up by a large management company and getting rubber stamped by coop Boards. I wonder, is your coop managed by First Residential?

My coop can’t provide me with itemized expenses or who will even do this work and I’ve challenged their legal authority to impose a new fee on essential activity, especially in such a targeted way. Their response is they will call the police if I try to move without signing the document that includes agreeing to the $300. Unbelievable.

Curious if you were able to fight this successfully and if so what was effective.

Thanks.

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