Requests for Service and Notices of Entry
As Ontario re-opens, at least for now, and some of the
restrictions on maintenance and other work undertaken in multi-residential
suites have been relaxed or lifted altogether, it is important for landlords,
property owners and operators to consider how their suite entry documentation
should be modified to address the ongoing concerns regarding the COVID-19
virus. In particular, it is prudent for property operators to ensure tenants
and unit owners are aware of the risks associated with a landlord or property
manager accessing their suite to carry out work in the suite.
The property manager’s request for maintenance or
service form (whether in print or through a residents’ or owners’ online
portal) should be revised to ensure the requesting tenant or owner acknowledges
and agrees to the increased risk of spread and/or exposure to COVID-19
associated with having someone who is not a member of their household enter
their unit. The request for service would have the tenant acknowledge that the
landlord/property manager is following government- and health-recommended
protocols and that they will also be expected to follow protocols which will be
included in the notice of entry.
In our view, it is also important for the tenant or owner to
acknowledge that they are ultimately responsible for their own protection from
possible infection and that they voluntarily agree to assume the risks of
illness, injury and/or death associated with the entry required of the property
manager to carry out the service or work requested.
The notice of entry that is delivered to the suite
in advance of the work should specify the representations that will be required
of the tenant/owner upon entry, including that they are not currently
experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and that they have not experienced symptoms
of same in the preceding 14 days. The Notice of Entry should also specify that
the tenant/owner and any occupants who reside therein be required to leave the
rental unit or isolate in a separate room for the duration of the work and if
they are unable to do so, that they be prepared to maintain physical distancing
of at least 6 feet (2 meters) for the entire time work is being performed in the
Finally, contact information for an individual designated to
address any questions or concerns or to receive information from tenants or
owners regarding their health status should be included on the Notice of Entry.
If an occupant of a unit is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it would be
preferable for the tenant to advise the landlord or property manager as soon as
possible to hopefully avoid thrown away costs associated with an on-the-day
cancellation and having this contact information on the notice of entry would
facilitate early communication.
By implementing these recommendations, property
managers and landlords will minimize the significant liability to which they
are exposed as a result of the COVID-19 virus and necessary entry into units.