As we all navigate the new reality we are living in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to stay calm, keep up-to-date on the latest developments, and do everything you can to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. Many of our clients are living in condo communities and are struggling with how to avoid spreading the virus in and around the common areas. Here are some helpful tips and resources.
Please note that our firm is open and operational and can communicate via email, phone, and post. Out of an abundance of caution, we are currently not seeing clients face to face in the office. Do not hesitate to reach out should you need our assistance.
Listen to the Health Experts
To protect yourself, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning your hands often, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. If the virus is spreading in your community, put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Practicing social distancing can be a challenge for residents of close quarters such as condo associations. When you are in and around common elements or areas that are more densely populated, be mindful of the distance between you and others. If a place feels too crowded, go home, and be sure to wash your hands immediately. If your Association has not already communicated its protocol for cleaning and sanitizing common elements, be sure to obtain a copy. Educating yourself can go a long way to giving you peace of mind during these uncertain and stressful times.
Other important steps to protect yourself and others, as recommended by the CDC and the Florida Department of Health, include:
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wear a face mask if you are sick.
Can I Stop Paying Maintenance if My HOA Closes a Common Element?
To stop the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of residents, many condos and HOAs are closing common elements such as the gym, pool, and other amenities. However, this does not mean that owners can stop paying maintenance. As long as the HOA’s responses regarding the coronavirus are compliant under the Fair Housing Act and related regulations, and are properly communicated to residents, temporarily closing common elements is an appropriate exercise of the HOA’s authority which cannot justify withholding of maintenance.
How a Florida Condo Attorney Can Help
If you believe your Condo or HOA is failing to comply with any state or federal guidelines or mandates or is otherwise failing to protect the health and safety of the community and you need assistance with next steps, we welcome you to contact us at (954) 966-4909. We serve the legal needs of individual condominium owners, home owners and cooperative owners in resolving disputes with their associations throughout Florida, including Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, as well as Hollywood, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Sunny Isles, Aventura, Miami, North Miami, Brickell, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Naples. We only represent individuals and never represent associations or management companies.
Please note that free case evaluation is by telephone and does not include legal advice. Cases are handled on an hourly billing basis. Office consults with legal advice are available on a flat fee basis.