As we head into the dead of winter, tenants (like the rest of us) will tend to stay in their units as much as possible. Normally this wouldn’t raise any additional concerns for property managers, but unless you’ve been living on another planet for the past nine months you know that “normal” has become a very relative term. You’ve probably already dealt with some of these issues from your tenants this past year, but we wanted to provide a few updates to some questions that might come up.
- With outdoor activities being curtailed because of the temperature and everyone staying home, is there any danger of the coronavirus passing from one unit to another through the HVAC system?
- There is a very, very low chance of that happening. While the virus does pass through aerosolized droplets, the droplets will likely break apart before reaching the HVAC system. Even if they do somehow get that far, the combination of vents and filters will almost certainly take care of the virus before that air circulates to another unit.
- What can you do to help reduce the spread in common areas, like gyms or lobbies?
- Generally, providing appropriate social distancing guidelines in areas like lobbies or elevators will be effective in helping to reduce the spread. And while transmission of the virus through touch is very rare, frequent sanitizing of things like elevator buttons and door handles can’t hurt and can also help reduce the likelihood of other diseases being spread. As for gyms, most apartment facilities are pretty small, and because of that they’re among the riskiest places to keep open. However, if there is space, you should remove some machines or tape them off to reduce the number of people and increase social distancing.
- Will you let the other tenants know if someone in the building tests positive?
- That’s a decision that is up to you and/or your landlord. If you do decide to make other tenants aware of a positive case, make sure you take steps to protect the identity of the person who did test positive.