PR Condo Associations Going Overboard with Quarantine Measures - Relocate to Puerto Rico with Act 60, 20, 22

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In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have to do our part to limit the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. Condo associations across Puerto Rico have recognized this and have implemented various quarantine measures to ensure their tenants are following the rules.

While it’s good that condo boards are taking the situation seriously, some have become overzealous and are enforcing draconic measures to keep their residents isolated. From entirely shutting down common areas such as gardens to banning guests and kicking rule-breakers off the property, many are overstepping the boundary into illegality. DACO has published guidelines to address these overzealous condo boards, and we’ve translated them into English below.

ORDER 2020-010 TO ORDER HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS AND/OR THE BOARDS OF CONDOMINIUMS TO ADOPT MEASURES CONSISTENT WITH OE-2020-029

March 31, 2020

On March 31, OE-2020-029, through which the government of Puerto Rico adopted new measures to control the outbreak of COVID-19 on the island, entered into effect. Considering the provisions of this executive order and taking into consideration the complaints brought to the attention of the Department by residents of condominiums since the measures of confinement and partial closure of businesses were decreed, under the authority conferred by both Act No. 5 of April 23, 1973, better known as “Organic Law of the Department of Consumer Affairs,” and Law No. 104 of June 25, 1958, as amended, better known as the “Condominium Law,” the Secretary of the DACO issues the following:

ORDER

SECTION 1: Prohibition to suspend services. All homeowner associations and/or boards of directors of residential condominiums under the jurisdiction of DACO are ordered to refrain from suspending, for lack of payment in any apartment, the services of drinking water, electricity, gas, and telephone, as well as the transmission services of voice, video, data, and/or any other similar service that arrives through fixtures that constitute general common elements of the property. Automatic access service (key or beeper access) may not be suspended either. This prohibition cannot be interpreted in any way as a payment waiver or a moratorium on the obligation that each owner has regarding the payment of maintenance fees in their condominium for services that provided continuously. If such payments cannot be made, it is the responsibility of the owner to notify the homeowner association and/or the board of directors in due time, suitably stating the reasons for non-compliance. It is at the discretion of the homeowner association and/or the board of directors to adopt the measures they deem pertinent to ensure the payment of such amounts, provided that this is reasonable and does not violate the provisions of this Section, OE-2020-029, or an act that substitutes it.

SECTION 2: Order of closure of recreational areas that promote gatherings. All homeowner associations and/or boards of directors of residential condominiums are ordered to close common recreational areas that promote gatherings, such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, event rooms, and the like.

SECTION 3: Faculty to limit the use of common areas. The homeowner associations and/or boards of directors may adopt measures that limit the flow of people into common areas or that are necessary for the daily lives of the owners or occupants of the condominiums, such as laundry areas and gardens. Such measures include limiting the number of people who may be in those areas at one time or establishing hours of use in order to avoid. However, denying access to such areas is prohibited.

SECTION 4: Power to limit access to condominiums. The homeowner associations and/or boards of directors may adopt measures that limit the flow of people, non-residents who come to the condominiums to carry out activities or services permitted under OE-2020-029 – or an act that substitutes it – or for visits to residents. In no way can they completely prevent visits, even if they are personal, provided that the provisions of OE-2020-029, or an order that replaces it, are respected.

SECTION 5: Special considerations for condos with particular characteristics. The homeowner associations and/or boards of directors of condominiums that, due to their particular characteristics, require special means of transportation to access their facilities, must take the necessary measures to ensure that residents are not prevented from moving as permitted by OE-2020-029 – or an act that substitutes it – and/or from accessing services that [OE-2020-029] authorizes to be carried out within the condominiums.

SECTION 6: Other considerations. All aspects that are not expressly contemplated in this Order will be governed by the provisions established by each condominium in its parent deed. Any change one wishes to adopt with respect to such provisions that is not included in this Order and that does not arise from OE-2020-029 – or an order that replaces it – must have the corresponding resources urged for it as established by Law of Condominiums.

SECTION 7: DACO’s power to impose sanctions. Failure to comply with any provision of this Order shall result in administrative sanctions and penalties provided in the Organic Law of the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Law of Condominiums, as amended.

This Order will come into effect immediately and will be in effect for the duration of the provisions of OE-2020-029 or an order that replaces it.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, today, March 31, 2020, at 2:00 P.M.
_______________________

Carmen I. Salgado Rodríguez

Secretary

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