Precautions for Commercial Landlords When Reopening in the Wake of COVID-19
As businesses are slowly reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and companies are returning to their physical office space, commercial landlords must consider adopting precautions to minimize exposure to the virus and reduce the risk of landlord-tenant disputes or litigation.
The article outlines the precautions that landlords of commercial office buildings might find applicable and feasible when reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19: Precautions for Landlords When Reopening Commercial Office Buildings
We have broken down our suggestions for commercial landlords when reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic into five categories:
- Cleaning precautions
- Minimizing contact
- Improving building policies
- Communicating with tenants
- Visitor precautions
Above all, you must ensure that your commercial office building is in compliance with any applicable executive orders and regulations imposed by the federal, state, or local government (e.g., rules regarding social distancing).
- Regularly clean and disinfect shared common areas, including elevators, restrooms, lobbies, kitchen, and others.
- Consider hiring a cleaning crew to clean high-traffic and common areas frequently throughout the day.
- Ensure that your ventilation systems are working properly and are efficient enough to provide adequate air quality and ventilation.
- Install technology that would ensure the automatic opening of doors inside the building.
- Install touchless technology in restrooms.
- Put hand sanitizers at shared common areas or where there are most touchpoints (e.g., near or inside an elevator and in the kitchen).
- Install sneeze guards at the front and security desks.
Improving Building Policies
- Post notices regarding proper hygiene, handwashing, social distancing, and general tips to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
- Create policies for your building’s employees who feel sick or come into contact with someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus.
- Adopt policies for handling reports from tenants about confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their employees, customers, or guests.
- Revisit existing emergency evacuation protocols.
- Improve or create procedures to handle shutting down parts of the building or the entire building in the event of a similar virus outbreak.
Communicating with Tenants
- Maintain regular communications with tenants regarding COVID-19-related precautions.
- Choose one of your employees to act as the primary contact for tenants to sort out reports, complaints, and concerns regarding coronavirus.
- Listen to your tenants’ suggestions regarding the implementation of any necessary adjustments regarding coronavirus precautions.
- Implement special security measures and rules for visitors. For example, it might be wise to keep a log of visitors, prevent visitors from entering unless they call ahead to let staff know about their visit and deny entry if the visitor is showing any coronavirus symptoms or recently traveled to a high-risk state or country.
- Screen visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 at the front or security desk using a touch-free thermometer.
The above precautions are general suggestions that may not be applicable or feasible to all commercial office buildings. We encourage you to review the above-mentioned precautions and evaluate their applicability prior to implementing them. Also, keep an eye on any new executive orders, guidance documents, and industry standards that may be issued by the federal or state government over the next weeks and months.
Contact our West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to review your particular situation and determine which precautious would be applicable and feasible under your circumstances. Call at 561-291-8298 for a consultation.