Post-Shelter-In-Place: A Primer For LandlordsPart One in a Four-Part Series

We don’t know exactly when the Illinois Shelter-In-Place order will be lifted, but we can, and should, start preparing for it. And while the laws and situations are still changing, here are the most current answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Can Landlords Require COVID-19 Screenings Before Allowing Tenants into A Building?

Generally, the ADA prohibits this, and HIPAA also limits what health information can be shared with third parties.

But, based on current CDC guidance, employers may be permitted to measure employees’ body temperature for the limited purpose of evaluating the risk that their presence poses to others in the workplace. And because landlords, like employers, are not “covered entities” or “business associates”  landlords would likely also be exempted under these conditions.

That said, privacy and confidentiality obligations still exist, and landlords should follow best practices

As well, because a high body temperature reading is not equivalent to a COVID-19 diagnosis, landlords who screen tenants on entry must have a concise, clear plan in place for how elevated readings will be handled.

Can Landlords Be Required to Conduct Screenings?

Probably not, but failure to do so could lead to claims of negligence.

Should Landlords Conduct Screenings?

Conducting temperature screenings can be fraught with complications. And doing so could open landlords up to myriad liabilities, for lack of uniformity in enforcement and possible contamination. Additionally, they may feel the pressure of public resistance to a sense of privacy invasion.

Can Landlords Prevent Tenants from Re-Entering if They’ve Been Found Positive for COVID-19?

For Residential Tenants, the short answer is no. The situation is a bit more complicated when dealing with Commercial Tenants.