Updated April 2020
During times of crisis there is confusion. Confusion can result in lack of or excessive communication. Care should be taken to limit communication to what is factual and authoritative. Prior to telling others how to act or what to do, take measures to ensure management has also acted prudently.
Condo management has no authority to require residents to disclose their physical condition or if they have traveled. Individuals revealing they have COVID-19 can’t be barred from entering the building without government directive.
During the covid pandemic many condo boards have taken it upon themselves to make up rules beyond their authority. Here are two contrasting communications. To the right is a communication consistent with authority of the condo board and a clear intent on assisting residents. Below is a rash communication claiming authority that does not exist.
We like this letter and find it superior to most:
- It is well written and grammatically correct
- There are no legally-questionable initiatives or mandates that residents disclose personal information
- No personal heath protocols are provided – residents are directed to proper sources
- Enhanced cleaning protocols for common areas are identified
- Initiatives to assist residents are in place
This communication (above) by one community goes beyond authority granted to condo boards, is unenforceable and should be avoided.
Limit communications to providing building-specific information. Direct residents to official sources of information as provided below.
Avoid distributing paper which is passed hand-to-hand and can transmit viruses.
Electronic communication works best. Communities currently using condo management software have an advantage. Communications are simplified, faster and include a central area for electronic posting of information.
In communications, remind of the importance of handwashing.
It is easy for management to inform residents amenities are closed and of actions they should take. Their role should be to initiate building-wide efforts to improve cleanliness and communicate these efforts. See Deterring Infection for actions a building can implement.
Frequent notices providing limited information suggest disorganized or unprepared management. A single comprehensive notice to residents offers a single source for information. Condo Directors Group, an Ottawa-based organization, offers a Word template which can be customized for any community at www.condodirectorsgroup.com .
Condo boards and management lack authority to direct residents on proper actions or precautions during a pandemic. They can direct residents to formal health or government authorities for pertinent information. Residents can be directed to official sources of information which include: