Written by: Alissa Thompson
It goes without saying: The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on every facet of our lives. Residents were confined to their homes due to stay-at-home orders as living spaces were adapted to home offices. Twelve hours at home became 24 hours at home. Homeowners association boards were faced with the unique challenge of keeping residents safe—including how to address repairs in the community with reduced in-person contact.
Whether residents realize it or not, homeowners association boards are the reason communities run smoothly. They schedule building management projects that allow them to live comfortably and worry free. Residents depend on associations to manage plumbing issues, damage to common areas, elevator restorations, and more.
Community managers and boards postponed repair projects at the start of the pandemic to minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially among high-risk populations. Many have since weighed the risks and taken extra precautions when it comes to repairs, such as increased cleaning and sanitation of public spaces and reducing contact with residents as much as possible, particularly when it comes to in-unit repairs.
For example, we have seen an entire building re-piping project put on hold. This process involves installing a new waterline plumbing system and requires in-unit access, making the level of exposure to residents quite high. Here, the risk versus reward was weighed, and the board felt more comfortable delaying the project than potentially exposing residents to COVID-19, at the cost of water problems and damage.
With evolving information from government officials and organizations regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, homeowners association leaders have had to adjust their operating procedures to keep repairs and projects moving forward along with allowing new ones to begin. While these protocols are necessary, community managers and board members will have to continue weighing the risks of completing a repair while minimizing the impact to residents in their community.