There is a lot of fear regarding COVID-19 and I am wondering what your guidance is regarding routine repairs and inspections with the co-op or outside contractors going into members’ homes, especially with repair people who go all over the community and enhance the risk of community spread.
Our advice at the moment is that co-ops should do whatever they can to be part of the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means limiting contact among people and practising social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
We canvassed the views of maintenance services including our own at COHO and the staff at BC Housing. They are providing maintenance and repair services to occupied homes only in emergency situations. All regular or routine maintenance is being restricted to vacant homes and common areas (interior and exterior). We think this is prudent in the circumstances and important for the protection of co-op members, staff and tradespeople. Of course there are always situations that call for judgement to be exercised. If, for example, a home is vacant because a member is away on vacation, it may be possible to have work done safely in the home while the member is away. That’s a decision for the board to make.
The board is charged with a special responsibility to act at all times in the best interests of the co-op. This sometimes calls for tough choices to be made. In the current situation, it is difficult for us to imagine that it’s in the co-op’s best interests to proceed with business as usual.