Author Topic: Condo board on legal thin ice?  (Read 977 times)

freeat57

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Condo board on legal thin ice?
« on: April 08, 2020, 09:56:34 AM »
My condo board sent out a communication about 10 days ago about COVID-19 precautions which included the phrase "since we have not yet put the building under quarantine".  That concerned me.  Just now they sent another message in which they asked that anyone in the building who has been ill or has been exposed to Corona virus should inform the board of that. 
Honestly?!  Is that appropriate (legal?) for a condo board to ask?

Boll weevil

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 141
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2020, 10:50:28 AM »
I don’t know about legal, but I wouldn’t consider it inappropriate. Somebody may want to put up some additional signage saying someone in the building is sick so take extra precautions. They may also want to give common areas such as entries, laundry room, mailbox area, etc a deep cleaning.

You may want to check what information doctors arerequired to pass on to the local health board regarding Covid. I think they’re required to pass on name and address for certain serious illnesses (like bubonic plague, hantavirus, norovirus, e. Coli, etc.)so the health board can step in and try to identify the source and shut it down. If covid is in that category, then they’re probably going to find out anyway.

tweezers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 209
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2020, 01:06:36 PM »
My mother is president of her condo board, and specializes in condo law; and this is not legal (at least at this time).  She's in Canada though so it may be different than the US, and the rules are changing.  However, as of now, they are not legally able to shut down the building to visitors, prevent people from leaving, limit the occupancy of elevators, require people to submit health information, etc. (and a number of residents have asked for these things).  They can, however, close fitness/recreation rooms and forbid people from congregating in common areas (which is currently Provincially-mandated for everyone).  It is inappropriate (and illegal under HIPAA) for a condo board (seriously??) to demand health information from residents, and I would not comply with this request.  In fact, your condo board may be inviting liability by seeking to control this (i.e. if they assume responsibility for keeping people healthy and behave as such, they can be sued if they fail and someone becomes ill).  Everyone in your building should assume that they have been exposed to the coronavirus and behave accordingly to protect themselves.   

I'm not a lawyer but I've been calling my mom daily to help alleviate some of her isolation (lives alone, working from home), and this is all. she. talks. about.  There are a plethora of webinars from condo lawyers on this topic (apparently).  If your board starts mandating building-wide quarantines and the like, I would absolutely push back and/or seek guidance from a reliable legal source.

freeat57

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2020, 01:17:25 PM »
Our common areas have already been locked and the frequency of cleaning for entries and elevators, etc has been stepped up.

On the health reporting, it is one thing for a physician to report public health information in compliance with state laws and HIPAA.  It is quite another thing for some yahoo condo board member to ask for personal health information and possibly share it with others.  It seems like a major overstep of a boundary for them to request such.

wellactually

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 141
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2020, 01:23:13 PM »
It doesn't sound like they are demanding anything. It also doesn't say in the information you shared what they would even mean by quarantine.

Have you had issues with the board? I know I've heard many anecdotal stories of bad condo boards which I imagine would put one on high alert.

It's been helpful for me during the pandemic response to remember that other people aren't coming to the table with well developed plans either, they're just trying to figure out the best way forward. And lots of mistakes are getting made without ill intentions. If you have questions about what they mean by quarantine, maybe just ask. I doubt they've ever asked people to share health information in the past and they are probably just trying to do their best to give people helpful information. But again, asking people to voluntarily share if they've tested positive is quite different from a demand.

Now, if they said "anyone who doesn't report that they have a fever to the board will be penalized in X way" or something, that would probably concern me. They would probably be better served just advising people to assume that someone in the community could be affected and give guidelines for usage of the shared spaces and disinfectant processes.

freeat57

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2020, 01:25:53 PM »
My mother is president of her condo board, and specializes in condo law; and this is not legal (at least at this time).  She's in Canada though so it may be different than the US, and the rules are changing.  However, as of now, they are not legally able to shut down the building to visitors, prevent people from leaving, limit the occupancy of elevators, require people to submit health information, etc. (and a number of residents have asked for these things).  They can, however, close fitness/recreation rooms and forbid people from congregating in common areas (which is currently Provincially-mandated for everyone).  It is inappropriate (and illegal under HIPAA) for a condo board (seriously??) to demand health information from residents, and I would not comply with this request.  In fact, your condo board may be inviting liability by seeking to control this (i.e. if they assume responsibility for keeping people healthy and behave as such, they can be sued if they fail and someone becomes ill).  Everyone in your building should assume that they have been exposed to the coronavirus and behave accordingly to protect themselves.   

I'm not a lawyer but I've been calling my mom daily to help alleviate some of her isolation (lives alone, working from home), and this is all. she. talks. about.  There are a plethora of webinars from condo lawyers on this topic (apparently).  If your board starts mandating building-wide quarantines and the like, I would absolutely push back and/or seek guidance from a reliable legal source.

This is pretty much what I was thinking.  It is absolutely ok for them to advise that everyone be safe and take precautions as recommended by the CDC.  It does not seem right for them to assume the role of personal health information gatherers, dispensers and arbiters of behaviors.

Dogastrophe

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
  • Location: 44.6488° N, 63.5752° W
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2020, 01:35:34 PM »
My condo board has closed our common room and gym and have asked that people not share the elevator unless they live in the same unit.  We've also restricted delivery people (mostly food delivery) from going direct to units - this is supposed to be an all the time thing but it's being monitored more closely now.

They wouldn't be brazen enough to suggest that we report (any) sickness to them. 

stoaX

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 699
  • Location: South Carolina
  • 'tis nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2020, 01:47:09 PM »
My hoa board has asked (not demanded) that any infections be reported to the management company. The idea being that only total numbers are reported to the community.  By the way, this is a community of about 5,000 residents. 

I don't know if it is legal or not in our state or county ..and I'm not concerned enough to investigate. 

MilesTeg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1363
Re: Condo board on legal thin ice?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2020, 02:33:52 PM »
My condo board sent out a communication about 10 days ago about COVID-19 precautions which included the phrase "since we have not yet put the building under quarantine".  That concerned me.  Just now they sent another message in which they asked that anyone in the building who has been ill or has been exposed to Corona virus should inform the board of that. 
Honestly?!  Is that appropriate (legal?) for a condo board to ask?

No way a condo board has the authority to put residents in quarantine (i.e. prevent people leaving their homes or taking visitors) even if by some crazy chance the HOA contract stipulates such a power. An HOA would not have legal standing to do such a thing and any such contract clause would be null and void. They are not a government or a law enforcement agency, and you can't sign away basic rights like freedom of movement in a private contract.

It's also not legal for them to _require_ you to provide health information.

They can certainly ask, but the HOA can not compel you to do so.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 02:36:27 PM by MilesTeg »