How to be a Good Neighbor During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Laura Otto
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During these uncertain and unsettling times of the COVID-19 pandemic, being a good neighbor has never been more important. It can be difficult for residents in apartments, condominiums, and housing cooperatives who share common areas to observe social distancing or maintain adequate noise levels during the day.

As residents come and go in common areas, it’s important to respect neighbors’ personal space. “We recommend that the community manager or board communicate to the owners the need to wear a facial covering, and preferably gloves, anytime they exit their unit,” says Daniel Miske, an attorney with Husch Blackwell in Milwaukee and a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). “Anything that reduces the likelihood of transmission from one person to another benefits everyone.”

Shared Safety

Social distancing must be kept in mind when developing procedures to use elevators and laundry facilities. David Graf, a partner with Moeller Graf in Englewood, Colo., and a CCAL fellow, recommends creating a schedule for residents to use the facility. An example would be designating a specific day each floor has access to the communal laundry room.

When it comes to safely riding elevators during the COVID-19 crisis, be mindful of how your actions can affect your neighbors. For example, let your neighbor take elevator rides alone and remember not to take offense if someone chooses to wait for another elevator rather than join you.

Additionally, if you’re approaching the elevator at the same time as someone else, let them know why you are waiting for the next elevator. It’s important to be respectful and vocal as to not offend your neighbor.

Be Aware of Noise Levels

At a time when kids are home from school and college, and working from home is the new normal, residents must be mindful of noise. Try to reduce the amount of noise you make early in the morning and late at night.

If you want to exercise at home, keep in mind the noise you create when taking an online fitness class especially if you share walls or floors. If you know your neighbor has small children, be aware of nap times and don’t send your kids outside to play or have loud music on. Treat your neighbors the way you want them to treat you.

Finally, residents can show their respect for their neighbors and community by using common sense and following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and public health officials.

Disclaimer: This information is subject to change. It is published with the understanding that Community Associations Institute is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, medical, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.​ explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is editor of CAI’s award-winning Community Manager. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.