Press Room

COVID-19 LEGAL TASK FORCE COSTA RICA – UPDATE 15

April, 2020

Arias created an interdisciplinary task force with the participation of different practice areas, that is monitoring and informing about measures taken by the Government to mitigate the impact of COVID 19. 

The Government of the Republic announced new vehicle restrictions measures to contain the spread of COVID-19:

UPDATE ON MINISTRY OF HEALTH's CONDOMINIUM GUIDELINES

The Ministry of Health updated on April 7, 2020 the measures issued on March 20, 2020 regarding the General Guidelines for Commercial Condominiums, Condominiums with commercial and residential spaces, and Residential Condominiums; due to the health alert for Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The update does not replace the March 20, 2020 Guidelines, it only makes specifications of some topics.

The update is particularly important for the scope applicable to the following topics: use of non-built common areas, swimming pools and construction and repair activities, as well as the possibility of virtual meetings of the condominium's bodies and the entry of collaborators and services of the condominium owners. 

These measures are mandatory for all types of condominiums, horizontal, vertical, mixed, lots (FFPI), condo hotels, in concession or condominiums, and for all uses, whether commercial, residential, combined, etc. They are part of the preventive and mitigation actions dictated by the Ministry of Health for the attention of the COVID-19 alert, and the Ministry of Health will review them periodically.

The Guidelines were updated for the three groups detailed in our previous Newsletter as follows:

Group I: General guidelines for administrators, maintenance personnel, condominium owners, tenants, merchants and visitors to the condominium, which contain two rules:

 Events: It was clarified that the "events at commercial and social level scheduled for the months indicated in Decree 42227 that were to be cancelled" refer to events in common areas as well as in private areas.

Constructed common recreational areas: The prohibition to make use of constructed common recreational areas such as clubhouses, rooftops, Jacuzzis, gyms, BBQ ranches, movie theaters, massage rooms, event rooms, etc., is maintained.

Unconstructed common recreational areas: It was specified that "non-constructed" common recreational areas such as green areas or sports courts may be used for walking. Social distancing should be respected.

Swimming pools: It was regulated that swimming pools will remain closed, both those located in private areas and those located in common areas, to prevent mass concentration activities.

Construction and repairs: Regarding construction and repairs, the Ministry of Health established that such work is permitted on individual properties and in common areas, provided that the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health regarding necessary cleaning and hygiene measures are followed.

Non-compliance: In case of non-compliance with the measures regarding its use, the Administration or Board of Directors is empowered to restrict the use or impose new measures aimed at safeguarding the health of the people in the condominium.

Group II: Guidelines for the Administration of the Condominium

Meetings of the condominium's bodies: The Ministry of Health has made the guidelines for regular meetings of the Board of Directors, Committees and Owners' Meetings more flexible, so that they can now be held virtually in the cases where they apply. Otherwise, the rule of 50% of the capacity of the place must be applied and people must be at least 1.8 meters away from each other.

In this regard, as a clarifying note from our Real Estate Department at ARIAS, we must point out that virtual meetings for any of the Condominium’s bodies must be previously established and authorized by the Internal Regulations of the Condominium. If the rule does not exist, the Regulations must be previously amended so that the virtual meetings can be held. We estimate that the Ministry of Health adds the words "where applicable" referring to the Condominiums that already have this authorization in their internal administration regulations. 

 

For questions and queries regarding the handling of this issue and alternative solutions, we invite you to contact our specialist Rosa María Jiménez directly at her email address rosa.jimenez@ariaslaw.com

 

Entry of collaborators and services of the condominiums: The entry of collaborators (maintenance personnel, domestic employees, educational tutors, etc.) required by the condominium owners, residents, tenants or the condominium itself, as well as those who provide food, medicine or other daily use requirements, should not be prohibited.

 

Condominium personnel: It was specified that the operating and maintenance personnel of the condominium must not only apply the social distancing protocols but also the cleaning protocols.

Virtual means for the Administration: It was specified that the Administration should, as far as possible, attend to suppliers, tenants and customers by virtual means, in addition to telephone and e-mail.

Elevators: Regarding elevators, it is recommended that only residents of the same individual property go on each elevator trip to reduce the possibility of contagion between individual properties.

Access to hygiene items: It was specified that the constant availability of toilet paper, antibacterial soap, disposable towels for drying hands and alcohol gel in the sanitary services, both for public use and for condominium personnel, must be guaranteed, as well as that they are properly disinfected.

Group III: Guidelines for condominiums and tenants:

Stay at Home: The social distancing measures promoted by the Ministry of Health were recommended again, as well as staying indoors and avoiding physical contact.

In case you require further information or assistance with these condominium issues with all their variables, you can contact our Real Estate Department at Rosa.Jimenez@ariaslaw.com

Rosa Maria Jimenez

Senior Counsel/Leader Real Estate Department

Our task force will be monitoring all the actions and possible legal implications ordered by the Costa Rican Government during this global crisis.

 

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