Stopping Leaks, Running Plumbing Fixtures and the Spread of COVID-19: OSHA Guidance for In-Home Repairs

December 16, 2020Client Alert

As Americans spend more time at home due to stay-at-home orders resulting in partial or full closures of offices and businesses, homeowners and renters are sure to notice things in need of repair. To that end, landlords, property managers and service providing vendors alike should be mindful of the social distancing protocols enacted by local, state and federal regulators regarding COVID-19. In addition to utilizing personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and maintaining at least 6 feet between other persons, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued further guidance for in-home repair services workers, such as those providing plumbing, electrical, or heating/air conditioning/ventilation installation and repair.

OSHA describes what they consider to be appropriate safety measures for deploying workers for in-home maintenance calls, including a list of questions to ask a tenant or customer. While we encourage interested readers to consult OSHA’s guidance closely, the agency’s decision to issue further directives specific to in-home repairs seems practical given the new “do everything”-from-home culture and should not be overlooked.

More particularly, OSHA’s guidance distinguishes between elective (i.e., non-emergency) work, which to the extent possible, might warrant postponing, as opposed to urgent, emergency work that cannot be delayed. While present circumstances and corresponding guidance from public health agencies continue to evolve as we learn more about the novel coronavirus, the real estate community should continue to monitor applicable guidance issued by governmental authorities to ensure compliance and the safety and welfare of clients, tenants, and the community-at-large.

We encourage you to reach out to the attorneys at Greenberg Glusker with any questions or concerns.