Do Co-op and Condo Boards Have to Play COVID Cop?

By: Marc Schneider and Justin Buchel in COVID-19 on March 16, 2021

Laying down the law. As the coronavirus pandemic passes the one-year mark, co-op and condo boards are facing a pair of challenging questions: How far must a board go to enforce state and local laws and its own COVID-related house rules? And What are a board’s options when a shareholder or unit-owner fails to comply with laws or rules?

Many boards have struggled with the extent to which they must become COVID Cops. If masks are required in all public spaces, should the same apply to indoor co-op and condo common areas? We believe the answer is yes, which is why most of the boards we represent immediately enacted COVID emergency house rules that require wearing masks in common areas, social distancing in tight spaces (elevators, mailroom, etc.), restrictions on showing apartments as well as the closure of amenities (gyms, party rooms, pools, clubhouses, etc.). By doing this, boards were able to treat residents who weren’t following basic COVID protection guidance as violators of the co-op’s or condo’s governing documents.

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