As the property manager of your association, here’s what you should be doing and the resources you can provide to your community
As COVID-19 continues to spread, the economy is seeing significant impacts, and communities around the globe are upended. Businesses and schools are closed, and millions of people are under stay-at-home orders.
As a property manager, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities for your community during these unprecedented times. Residents of your association may be uncertain about expectations and how the virus will impact operations and the interactions they can have.
Here’s an overview of what you should be doing for your association during the COVID-19 pandemic and resources to reference and share with your community.
Communication is key
First and foremost, make sure you’re always available to your community. Make it clear right away how you and the board can be reached.
Send out regular updates or newsletters so that homeowners know you’re taking the pandemic seriously, staying up to date on news and recommendations from health officials, and updating practices as necessary throughout this time.
Revisit the emergency plan
Now is the time to revisit or create an emergency plan for your association. Involve legal counsel and other applicable third parties like your insurance provider.
The plan should detail topics like common area maintenance, compliance with laws and regulations, whether the community can be run remotely, and homeowner communication strategies.
Hold virtual meetings and events
Board meetings and other applicable events or gatherings should still be held virtually. This keeps the business moving forward and shows residents that operations are running as normal.
Always follow the official guidelines communicated to the public about whether in-person gatherings can be held in your area.
Manage common areas and guests
Put procedures in place for additional cleaning and sanitizing of common areas. Some of these areas should be closed during the pandemic, including pools and gyms where residents congregate. Make sure that each day surfaces and common spaces are disinfected, and place hand sanitizer dispensers or sanitizing wipes in these areas.
It’s also wise to limit the number of guests, vendors, and other outside parties who are entering and exiting the property. Communicate these restrictions to homeowners, stay in contact with your contractors, and consult your attorney about best practices.
Offer suggestions to maintain well-being
As a resource for your community, provide suggestions for how residents can maintain their physical and emotional well-being during the pandemic. Without offering medical advice, send out suggestions about exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness, connecting with friends and family over phone or video, and taking part in hobbies or creative activities that will take their mind off the news for periods of time.
Provide these resources
Your community members will likely have many questions for you during the pandemic. While you may be able to answer some questions, provide the following helpful resources to your association as well:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus webpage: The CDC offers the latest health information about COVID-19, including symptoms, how to protect yourself from the virus, what to do if you become sick, precautions to take, and updates on cases in the U.S.
- The CDC’s Resources for Businesses and Employers: This guide provides details on everything that businesses and employers need to know and do during the pandemic, including cleaning recommendations.
- The CDC’s COVID-19 fact page: This page provides the facts as they become known about the virus, helping the public stop the spread of false rumors about COVID-19.
- Community Associations Institute federal government actions information: This site gives the latest information about all actions and legislation related to community associations with regular updates.
- Becker’s COVID-19 Services and Insights page: Updated daily, this page provides helpful information for community associations, including potential issues and answers to common questions.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide: This guide helps answer questions related to the mental health impacts of the pandemic, including what to do if you experience severe anxiety and stress.
- Mental Health America’s COVID-19 webpage: This is another information page about how those struggling with their mental health can find coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- American Heart Association COVID-19 Resources: This page offers insights about the virus as well as tips for those with medical conditions, health care professionals, and how to stay healthy.
As the property manager, remember that you need to act as a resource for your association, even though you won’t have all the answers. Discuss strategies with your attorney when possible, keep communication open, encourage virtual meetings, maintain public spaces, and provide tips for maintaining well-being. Send around the above online resources so that those in need can find the help they need.
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