Dallas County Judge Issues Shelter-In-Place Order Until April 3: What This Means for Rental Housing
On March 22, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a shelter-in-place order for all Dallas County residents. The order becomes effective at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23 and will last through April 3.
AAGD has received confirmation from the city of Dallas and Dallas County that apartment leasing offices are considered essential to manage the operations of residences.
The order allows individuals to leave their residences if they perform work providing essential services at an “Essential Business.” (Section 2.a.iv). Essential Business is defined as “essential services necessary to maintain essential operations of residences or other essential residences.” (Section 2.b.vi). These services include on-site rental housing operations, property management, and maintenance.
As we continue to monitor the evolution of this unprecedented situation, we advise you take the following precautions:
- Limit onsite employees, maintain limited staff to ensure continuity of basic operations (service request management, rent collection and payroll, etc.).
- Where possible, limit in-person transactions between staff and residents. Consider implementing digital payment and maintenance requests or offer secure drop boxes. Note: Please review applicable state laws, which may prohibit landlords from mandating that residents pay rent online.
- Suspend all non-essential maintenance and repairs. Service requests should be categorized between essential (HVAC, hot water, plumbing, etc.) and non-urgent (upgrades, cosmetic repairs, etc.).
- Share staffing updates with residents and ensure emergency contact information is available. When possible, use multiple communication platforms such as email, community bulletin boards and notices to individual units
- Contact vendors to determine availability for emergency maintenance needs. Ensure alternative arrangements are available.
- Continue move-out walk-through inspections when requested by residents, per legal requirements. However, follow appropriate social distancing protocols. Ensure the residents desire inspections in the current environment and, if the request is withdrawn, get it in writing.
- Consider providing virtual and low-contact showings to prospective residents. These could include virtual tours or allowing a prospect to enter and tour a unit on their own. Be sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces between showings (including doorknobs, light switches, etc.).
For more information on safety measures and best practices related to COVID-19, please see other posts on our blog.
The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) continues to monitor the evolving situation related to the spread of COVID-19 and we will provide updates as this situation evolves. Check our website for local, state and federal resources. Information contained in this notice is advisory and does not constitute legal advice.
If you have questions about this order, please contact AAGD Government Affairs at (972) 739-9505.
Through the link below, members can download a templated Employee Authorization Form for Dallas County.