Property Management Services Deemed Essential
On March 23, 2020, the Province of Ontario issued a list of essential workplaces that may stay open as of Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The list of essential workplaces can be found here. All non-essential workplaces were ordered to be closed as of March 24, 2020, at 11:59 pm, although they are not being precluded from providing work or services online, by telephone, or by mail or delivery.
Item 13 on the essential workplaces list deems property management services an essential service. This means that landlords and property managers may keep their property management offices open and are not required to have their staff work off-site, although measures should be put in place to safeguard the well being of their employees (the World Health Organization’s recommendations can be found here). It is noteworthy, however, that being deemed an essential service does not mean that commercial landlords cannot choose to voluntarily close their offices or work remotely.
In addition, other businesses that provide support and maintenance services to commercial properties, such as plumbers; electricians; janitorial workers; cleaning services; security services; fire safety and sprinkler systems as well as building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers; and mechanics (such as elevator technicians, and heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation mechanics) are also deemed to provide an essential service and may continue to operate.
On April 3, 2020, the Province of Ontario issued an updated list of essential workplaces that can remain open. The list of essential workplaces can be found here. By 11:59 p.m. on April 4, 2020, all businesses that were not identified on the updated list were required to close their physical locations.
Property management services continue to be deemed an essential service. Specifically, item 20 on the updated list of essential workplaces includes: “Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.”
As before, businesses that supply services to property managers, including maintenance, are also deemed essential.