Reopening Your Community IREM Offers a Roadmap

Editor’s Note: During this crisis, The Cooperator family of publications will be passing along information, tips, and FAQs submitted by our network of industry professionals, including attorneys, managers, and other subject matter experts. The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributors, and as the situation evolves in the coming days and weeks, those views and opinions may evolve as well. We encourage readers to be mindful of this; check posting dates, make note of contributors’ locations and industries, and above all, consult with your own community professionals as you and your neighbors navigate this challenging landscape.

As states and municipalities make moves to reopen their economies after weeks of quarantine torpor, the boards and management of multifamily communities nationwide are contemplating what their own reopenings are going to look like. The board of a smaller, self-managed urban walk-up building obviously has different concerns than the board of a sprawling suburban association with multiple shared amenities and entry points. Many administrators are looking for guidance on how to go about balancing residents’ understandable desire to resume some semblance of normalcy with concerns about the safety and health of those residents, as well as building staff and other employees. 

To assist boards and property managers in this formidable task, Chicago-based international professional organization the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) released a 19-page PDF on April 30 titled IREM® Pandemic Guide For Real Estate Managers: Resources for Reopening Your Property. The guide supplements IREM’s other pandemic-related resources (you can access the organization’s full coverage here: irem.org/pandemic-guide) and outlines the importance of fundamental concepts like clear communication and patience during the reopening process, and also includes thorough checklists for addressing concerns across a variety of properties and scenarios. 

Below, you’ll find a selection of sections excerpted from the IREM guide - you can access the complete, printable PDF here: https://www.irem.org/File%20Library/GlobalNavigation/Learning/COVID19/PandemicReopeningGuide.pdf. According to the guide’s introduction, boards, managers, and residents alike must keep in mind that “The information in this Guide is not intended to cover every situation. Users should seek advice from a qualified professional before applying any information contained in this Guide to their own particular circumstances. Users should always obtain appropriate professional advice on medical, legal, structural, organizational, personal, proprietary, public health, or professional issues.” Good advice in the simplest of times, but especially so now, with both the stakes and emotions running high.

From the IREM Pandemic Guide: 

“Reopening your property responsibly and safely requires preparation, communication, and agility. It also requires coordination and cooperation with your stakeholders, including owners, staff, tenants/residents, and service providers. Consider the following key points on reopening your property:

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