Cooperative corporations and condominium associations are required to adopt reopening safety plans which will go into effect today when New York City enters Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan. A link to the official state summary of the requirements for residential real estate openings in the city can be found here. The site safety plan template for residential real estate can be found here. All buildings with employees are required to fill out the site safety plan and have it available on premises. It does not get filed with the state, but all employers must certify their compliance with the requirements here.
The law firm Tane Waterman & Wurtzel has prepared the following suggestions for COVID-19 amendments to house rules to assist co-op and condo boards and their property managers in handling increased social interaction among residents, staff and third parties:
Face Coverings. All owners, residents, guests and invitees, including contractors, delivery persons, pet care workers, caregivers and housekeepers are required to wear a cloth based or disposable face covering nose and mouth at all times when in or on interior and exterior common areas of the building when a minimum six feet of separation is not possible. Face coverings must be worn at all times when in the building’s lobby, public hallways, elevators and laundry room, even if six feet of separation is possible.
COVID-19 Assessments. While boards have the right to insist on a temperature scan for anyone entering the building, temperature scans are not required. At minimum, required Covid-19 assessment consists of the following three questions: Have you knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19? Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days? Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
Passenger Elevator. Set a limit on the number of people who can be in an elevator (except from the same family) and require face coverings until passengers have exited the elevator and entered their apartments. Those waiting for an elevator should practice social distancing and should not stand directly in front of the elevator door unless building staff has advised that the elevator is empty. Consider placing floor marking in the elevator.
Laundry Room. Set a limit on the number of individuals that may be in the laundry room at any one time. Residents should remove their laundry promptly after the cycle has been completed. Folding and sorting should be done in the user’s apartment. Consider extending the laundry room’s hours of operation given the state's requirement not to exceed 50% of the maximum capacity of the space . How will the room be maintained, cleaned and disinfected?
Pool/Roof Deck/Common Terraces and Patios. Post rules for use of these amenity spaces, including the use of face coverings and social distancing. Consider requiring users of these amenities to sign a waiver of liability, and consider creating a schedule to ensure physical distancing and compliance with the requirement to limit occupancy to 50% of maximum capacity (Note: buildings located in New York City have not yet received clearance to reopen gyms.) Controlling access can be made easier through the use of fobs, which can be deactivated if a waiver is not signed or rules are not followed.
Gatherings. Until changed by the board, gatherings anywhere in the building, including apartments, shall be restricted to no more than 10 people, including the members of the apartment’s household. Larger gatherings may be considered, if feasible, in Phase Three.
Deliveries. Parcel pick-ups and deliveries should be established in a designated area in order to limit staff and resident contact with third parties. Consider whether residents should pick up deliveries in the lobby or outside the building. Simultaneous deliveries of appliances, furniture and other large items to multiple apartments may be permitted at the board’s sole discretion.
Brokers and Open Houses. Brokers and their invitees must observe these house rules. In Phase Two, showings and open houses are allowed only in “unoccupied or vacant properties.” You should reserve the right to bar brokers who violate these rules (or who permit their invitees to violate them). Open houses should be limited so that multiple parties are not entering the property at the same time.
Move-Ins and Move-Outs. Moves into or out of the building should be by appointment only and only one move can occur at a time. All movers shall comply with house rules and shall sanitize elevators and hallways used in the course of the move promptly after completion of the move. They should also submit to the screening requirements adopted by the building.
Apartment Alterations. In addition to usual building alteration policies, residents shall comply with any additional COVID-19 alteration procedures established by the board. Consider how many alterations you will allow to proceed at once and what safety requirements there will be for delivery of material to the apartment.
Violations and Remedies. Consider what actions the board will take for violations of the COVID-19 House Rules, including fines, loss of use of amenities, barring non-complying visitors, and legal action. Advise all residents of the consequences of violating the rules.
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