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What to Know about COVID-19, Your Community, and CAI

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May 29, 2020

 NEW!

Access CAI’s new Healthy Communities guide, a summary of practical advice and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relevant to COVID-19 and community associations.

Download your free copy.

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This week from CAI: Resources and essential information to share with HOA, condominium, or co-op residents to help navigate the impact of COVID-19 in your community association.

Tips for Opening Community Pools During COVID-19

Lifting Stay-At-Home Orders and its Impact on HOAs

Essential services: Community managers largely protected from layoffs so far

Relieve stress: Pandemic self-care strategies for community association leaders

CAI's Guide to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

A Guide to Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Federal COVID-19 Laws Impacting Community Associations

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CAI is monitoring the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on community associations.

We are encouraging CAI members, chapters, and the community associations industry in general to follow the latest guidance and updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CAI understands that members, homeowners, board members, community association managers, management company executives, and business partners may have questions about prevention, containment, classes, and events.

It is important to recognize, however, that CAI, its chapters, and individual members are not health care professionals. The CDC and other qualified health officials should continue to be the primary source of current information and guidance. CAI is offering general, precautionary guidance from officials and adding some common-sense guidelines for our industry.

What community associations can do

Community associations should review or establish an emergency plan in consultation with legal counsel, insurance and risk man​agement experts, and their manager. 

This plan could address whether it's possible to conduct association business remotely, how to handle common areas and amenities, anti-discrimination compliance, wage and hour laws if the associations employs staff, and communication with residents.

>>SAMPLE LETTER​​. Community associations are welcome to download and adapt a sample letter developed by CAI that covers some of the steps your community may take or has taken to address the COVID-19 outbreak. It has sections on association operationscleaning, common areas and amenities, meetings and events, social distancing, and staffingand what the association may do if residents contract​ COVID-19. You are encouraged to f​it the letter to your needs, filling in the appropriate details (see bracketed and highlighted areas) or picking and choosing certain sections that apply in your community. ​

​Meetings and events. Generally, there are several methods by which association members or association boards transact business in the absence of everyone gathering at the same time and location—some form of written consent, electronic meetings, or a vote outside a physical meeting. 

Community associations should contact their attorney and should review state statutes and governing documents to determine what is possible.

In-person meetings are almost always preferred because of the ability to discuss proposals, deliberate, and change minds. Most online and electronic voting simply permits an up or down vote on a proposal.

There are circumstances in which a meeting is simply not possible, so it is worth considering what other options exist to transact business.

In addition, state and local governments may be offering guidance or mandates regarding “group gatherings." Community associations should check with the state or local health officials to determine if guidance or restrictions are in place.   ​​

Common areas and amenities. Community associations control the common areas, and owners are responsible for their private property. If the virus becomes widespread, communities may want to consider:

  • Extensive cleaning, disinfecting, or wiping down of common areas and common area surfaces
  • Postponing or cancelling community events and meetings
  • Closing common areas and amenities, such as gyms, clubhouses, and pools
  • Installing hand sanitizer dispensers or wipes on common areas for owner and guest use

Community association board members should consult with their professional partners, including community manager and attorney, on how best to handle preparing for and reacting to COVID-19 within their community.

Fair housing and COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. All federal agencies are working aggressively on a multi-layered, cross-agency public health response to this evolving situation.​ HUD is encouraging housing providers, including community associations, to share relevant CDC fact sheets with individuals, families, and staff members. Read more from HUD​.

Community associations are reminded that their responses to residents regarding the coronavirus must be compliant under the Fair Housing Act and related regulations.

Wage and hour laws. If your community employs staff​, it should review how and whether it will compensate employees in the event of an interruption to normal business operations.

Communication. Whatever your community decides to do regarding meetings, events, common areas, amenities, and other measures regarding COVID-19, you should clearly and consistently communicate with residents. Use your newsletter, website, email, social media, or bulletin board to inform and educate.


​​​This information is subject to change. It is published with the understanding that CAI is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, medical, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.​