Community association board members should consult with their professional partners, including their Community Manager and attorney, on how best to handle preparing for and reacting to COVID-19 within their community. CAMS is offering precautionary guidance and some general common-sense information, but associations should use government and health officials as their primary source of information and guidance. Please use helpful links at the bottom of the page and updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CAMS appreciates the opportunity to continue serving its customers and provide trusted guidance especially during times of national crisis. Please check this page frequently for any updated information.
Federal health officials limited the size of all gathering to 10 people. Events should be cancelled or postponed. Please work with your Community Manager to reschedule any events. Annual Meetings can be suspended until a later date. Regular board meetings may be attended by conference call or video call wherever possible. Please consult with legal counsel for the best decision and then communicate to the membership.
CAMS support staff and community managers can work remotely using cloud-based technology. Our partners and teams are able to provide the same service levels using our cloud-based technology. For continuity of services, some key personnel will be available in our corporate office to ensure continuity for our key services such as invoice processing, mail room and other services. CAMS will continue providing business services for the association including monthly financial production, paying association related expenses, monthly compliance visits (unless restricted by local emergency orders), monthly facility and common area inspections, responding to owner and board requests by phone and email, attending virtual meetings, and providing online resources and support for your community and board members.
To comply with CDC recommendations and continued efforts of social distancing, most governing documents provide clear authority to the board to operate, manage and supervise common facilities which can include suspending their operation. If the board believes that closing a gym, playground, business center will minimize the spread of COVID-19, this is a sensible business decision and should be communicated appropriately to the members. Other amenities to consider temporary closure for preventing spread of disease include pools, gyms, playgrounds, business centers, library, and any other common areas or amenities not listed.
Some owners have expressed concerns regarding vendors or service providers who are coming onto the Association property from outside. It is incumbent upon each person to exercise sound judgement, to act in the interest of their personal welfare and to be considerate of others and, while the HOA cannot police that, it is sensible to encourage owners and residents to delay non-essential work and to limit the presence of guests during the crisis. The Board does not have the authority to restrict a person’s rights to use their unit and exercise their rights as a Member. If there are Town or other laws, then the authority that enacted the law must enforce it. The Board’s role is to encourage owners and residents to comply with government-issued rules.
The community may experience temporary staff shortages at communities that have onsite personnel. The staff have been instructed to practice social distancing and to avoid in-person contact as much as possible while going about their daily duties. Move-ins and move-outs, open houses, construction work, social events, large deliveries, and maintenance may be delayed or curtailed based on available and willing staffing. Access to key fobs and other physical items may be coordinated through the mail. If your community employs staff, it should review how and whether it will compensate employees in the event of an interruption to normal business operations. For properties with dedicated onsite staff, CAMS has advised these staff to increase the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning in areas that are touched regularly. The Association cannot guarantee that all areas are medically sanitized or assume any liability for ensuring the safety of residents, however the Association must take proactive measures in this regard. Staff have been instructed to report immediately if they are unwell and to take sick leave however, as long as they are not sick, they will continue providing routine services to ensure that the community is functioning properly. Should the employees get sick or need to remain at home, your Community Manager will coordinate operations with you until staffing levels return to normal.
Please note many of our service providers and partners may only respond to emergency or routine maintenance requests at this time. Non-emergency maintenance requests can be submitted to the board for review. Consider delaying all non-essential work until the crisis has passed.
Whatever your community decides to do regarding meetings, events, common areas, amenities, and other measures regarding COVID-19, the association should clearly and consistently communicate with residents. Contact your community manager to assist in sending eBlasts and updating information in the owner portal to inform and educate owners in your community. If appropriate, the association may notify residents that an individual in the community has contracted the virus – please consult with your attorney immediately if this situation should arise. Community associations are reminded that their responses to residents regarding the coronavirus must be compliant under the Fair Housing Act and related regulations
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event that is presenting new challenges to all of us. Due to the fluid nature of this situation, many Boards have requested some direction on handling collections during this time of great uncertainly. The Board may elect to suspend collections and late fees for a defined period and negotiate individual payment plan requests, however the Board may not forgive assessments. Please make note that, if you have any active HOA foreclosures, they will be delayed through May 1st due to courts closing and a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions as well as cancelling court proceedings.