Guide for Committees

This information was supplied by Strata Community Association Victoria (SCAV)

Apartment Living and COVID-19

Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease spread between people who are in close contact (1.8m or less) with one another, apartment buildings and other shared living spaces pose the potential risk of an infected resident spreading the virus to other residents — also known as community spread.

Whether you’re a landlord, owner occupier, committee or a building owner, here’s what you need to know about preparedness, communication and resident safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As our community moves to lockdown, our building occupancy will be at capacity. Our buildings include all age groups, and everyone will be home for some weeks.  During this time, we need to be tolerant, considerate of others and kind to each other.

Besides increasing hygiene measures and having a building-wide plan in place, it is critical to consider suspending social gatherings, such as meet and greets, apartment complex meetings, or other activities in the building that require people to gather.

Copies of the Department of Health’s advertisements for stopping the spread of the virus can be found here. These can be printed and put up in common areas around the property.

 

Are residents required to disclose to the OC if they are self-quarantined or infected?

At this stage it is unknown if the Health Department intends to notify an Owners Corporation if it has issued a notice to a person to quarantine.

However, all residents and their visitors are bound by the Model Rules as well as any Consolidated Rules. The Model Rules provide a duty under 1.1 and 6.1 to not cause a hazard or interfere with quiet enjoyment.

1.1 Health, safety and security of lot owners, occupiers of lots and others

A lot owner or occupier must not use the lot, or permit it to be used, so as to cause a hazard to the health, safety and security of an owner, occupier, or user of another lot.

6.1 Behaviour of owners, occupiers and invitees on common property

An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that guests of the owner or occupier do not behave in a manner likely to unreasonably interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property.

 

What should we do if we are advised that someone is self-isolating or has contracted the infection?

If you are notified or become aware, you must keep the identity and specific location confidential and only disclose to parties that need to know. The parties that need to know are:

  • Any contractors who service the site which allows them to increase their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols. They only need to know specific details if they are providing a behind the door service.
  • The Owners Corporations Manager and Building Manager as applicable should be advised of which apartment; in case something needs to be escalated.
  • Residents can be notified by placing a notice on the bulletin board advising that a case has been reported. Do not provide private and confidential information. It can be just a general notice, confirming the presence of a case and to adhere to published health guidelines.
  • Affected Resident. Provide details to the resident concerned as to what they must do with respect to delivery, visitors, rubbish and any other property restrictions.

 

What should we do about complaints?

Enforcing the Rules is a Committee responsibility but during extreme circumstances such as these, where building occupancy will be at maximum and everyone living in close quarters, a Committee should act reasonably and consider carefully practical solutions to keep community harmony.

Some Rule enforcement like drying the washing on the balcony, tolerance of “quiet enjoyment” and pets may need to be relaxed. Common sense should be used.

 

So, what does this mean for you as the Committee?

The Committee is the designated representative of all the owners (and by default residents) who live in your development. You are responsible for the health and safety of your residents on behalf of the OC.

At this stage there is very little published by the Health Department as to any specific obligations a building owner has when providing shelter to a person with or suspected to have COVID-19. However, the Government has introduced new containment measures for social distancing as well as for non-essential services that includes pools and gyms. Committees should now close all pools and gyms within Owners Corporation.

SCAV as the peak industry body for the strata industry has consulted with several professional organisations to develop this guide for Committees.

If you have a Building Manager request a copy of their Pandemic Management Plan. If you do not have a Building Manager, you will together with your Owners Corporation manager (if applicable), need to develop your own Pandemic Management Plan. To do this you will need to:

  • Map your dependencies to understand where disruptions might impact your development. For example, greater parcel delivery, more visitors and impact of financial reserves.
  • Review the preparedness of your critical third parties (Fire, Pool, Cleaning, Waste removal etc.) as these services may be affected.
  • Create a communication platform to inform residents. This could be as simple as a daily or weekly bulletin in the lobby or using technology platforms.
  • List the common areas most at risk for contamination and put in a management strategy for each area. For example, some things to think about include:

You will remain responsible for management of contractors visiting the site; however, you are advised to not directly approach contractors. If you have an OC Manager, they will continue to organise your Contractors via official work orders. It may be necessary to delay nonessential work/activities on-site, however this will be done in consultation with the Committee as and when required.

You will remain responsible for management of contractors visiting the site; however, you are advised to not directly approach contractors. If you have an OC Manager, they will continue to organise your Contractors via official work orders. It may be necessary to delay nonessential work/activities on-site, however this will be done in consultation with the Committee as and when required.

New cleaning, social distancing and protection protocols will need to be considered for:

  • Lifts
  • Intercom systems
  • Shared laundry areas
  • Front door
  • Door handles
  • Ventilator/air-conditioning
  • Committee meetings
  • General meetings
  • Plumbing
  • Contractors on-site

BACK TO ALL NEWS

Our highest priority is our clients.
We work with you, for you

CONTACT US TODAY

https://tideways.com.au/5&dq1aV!NT5yUeBU&kC*0kJHr9XIs^fpH6Y)^1(!PwRf7l6bg*(KUz#3XPDO2YJm