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Tax Blog

Commercial Landlord Policies Post-COVID: Keeping Your Tenants and Employees Safe

As more states begin to ease their COVID-19 related restrictions, more businesses will begin to open their doors. This means that commercial landlords should take note to some extra precautions to be taken with regards to keeping buildings open to tenants and operation issues. This blog will discuss how commercial landlords can ensure that they are not only protecting themselves, but their tenants and employees.

Generally, landlords may choose to keep buildings open to tenants as certain tenants may be considered essential services. Additionally, some businesses may permit a “skeleton crew” to work from the office while most of the employees work from home. To protect people lucky enough to be in the office, landlords should at least continue to provide minimum businesses operations. This includes engineering/maintenance to maintain the safety of the building and especially includes janitorial services to keep the building clean and sanitary. Landlords should ensure that their janitorial services follow CDC recommendations in addition to any state-governed recommendations.

Speaking of keeping the building clean and sanitary, this is one of the most important operational issues to consider. Many landlords have already begun providing antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers in common areas to keep tenants healthy. Additional measures should be taken in frequently visited common areas such as elevator call buttons, door handles, bathrooms, handrails, and other areas that are often touched. Social distancing (six feet apart) should become the norm where it is possible, however this is not always the case. If tenants are forced to be within six feet of one another (such as in an elevator), encourage/require masks to be worn in the area. If tenants refuse to wear masks, some landlords have enacted “one person at a time” rules for elevators or other tight spaces.

Even where landlords may not have an obligation to report a coronavirus case to tenants, a landlord might consider doing so in a multi-tenant building, taking appropriate privacy concerns and local rules into consideration. The professionals at The Center for Financial, Legal, and Tax Planning are more than knowledgeable with regards to commercial landlord issues whether or not they are related to COVID-19. Please contact us at (618) 997-3436 with any questions.

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