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Best Practices for Entering a Unit During COVID-19

Section 19 of the Condominium Act, 1998 permits a person authorized by the condominium corporation to enter an individual’s unit, or a common element of which an owner has exclusive use. However, reasonable notice must be given to the owner before entry.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, extra caution is advised when entering units and common elements. The Province of Ontario has published more information regarding the best practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, which can be found here.

Entry Guidelines

If entry is absolutely required, consider the following best practices:

   1. Pre-Entry Phase

Prior to entering a unit, it may be helpful for the condo corporation to create a checklist which outlines the process to prepare for entry. An example checklist may consist of the following, but remember that your checklist may also include considerations which apply specifically to your condo corporation:

  • Consider carefully why the entry is necessary, and the number of individuals that will need to enter the unit. This information will need to be properly communicated to the unit owner and the occupant(s).
  • Send the owner and the occupant(s) a detailed written explanation of why entry into a unit is necessary, and the details of all the health and safety measures that will be taken by the entrants. Communication and common understanding will be key to ensuring the safety of unit occupants and any individuals entering units.
  • Encourage all entrants to provide confirmation of completion of the Ontario Public Health Self-Assessment tool.
  • Ensure that all entrants are aware of pertinent health and safety practices. Remember that safety practices may differ from company to company, but all should follow municipal, provincial, and federal standards.
  • Immediately before entry, ensure that all personnel entering a unit are wearing personal protective equipment.

   2. Entry Phase

Ensuring safety during the entry phase is difficult due to the number of variables that can impact safety considerations. For example, some repairs might take longer and require more entrants, and some condo layouts might make social distancing difficult. As such, the best course of action is to ensure that all entrants adhere to the measures laid out in COVID-19: Stop the Spread and COVID-19 Guidance for Commercial and Residential Buildings.

Some additional best practices are:

  • Ensure that only authorized personnel enter the unit;
  • Ensure that entrants abide by provincial public health recommendations, including physical distancing, wearing a face-covering or mask and wearing shoe coverings; and
  • With the occupant’s permission, the condo corporation may offer to disinfect any surfaces that the entrant has come into contact with. This should be done either during the visit or shortly thereafter.

   3. Post-Entry Phase

After exiting the unit, the condo corporation should sanitize common areas that entrants have come into contact with, such as entryways, door handles, elevator buttons or stairwell railings.

Additionally, condo corporations may wish to consider allocating a designated area to dispose of personal protective equipment and sanitizing materials, such as gloves and wipes.

Click here for more information on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces.

If an entrant or an owner tests positive for COVID-19, contact your local public health authority immediately.

Entry Guidelines During an Emergency

In the event of an emergency, the health and safety of those living in the condo corporation, as well as the individuals responding to the emergency, must be your main consideration.

Here are some best practices in the event of an emergency:

  • Create an emergency on-call list of contractors or service providers. Ensure beforehand that they are aware of and follow COVID-19 safety procedures;
  • Keep a record of the names of entrants, time of entry, and reason of entry;
  • If the owner or occupant(s) were not in the condo unit while the emergency took place, communicate to the unit owner or occupant(s) what the emergency was, what was done to their unit, and the safety procedures taken; and
  • After the emergency work has been completed, follow Post-Entry Phase procedures.