November 19, 2020
Letter to clients of Inspire Property Management
Re: Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) – New orders mandating masks and restricting gatherings
We continue to be proactive in our response to the ever-evolving situation surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Earlier today the Provincial Government ordered requirements for wearing masks in indoor public spaces and workplaces, and prohibitions on private gatherings with people outside of one’s own household. These directives are binding upon strata corporations and should be adhered to until further restricted or rescinded.
We take our role in educating our clients about their duties and preventing the spread of the virus seriously. It is important that we consider the risks of and the way our staff members interact with clients during this outbreak. So, I would like to take this opportunity to inform our clients of policies currently in place at Inspire Property Management:
Council Meetings and General Meetings
Earlier in the year, the Province approved regulations which allowed strata corporation to hold meetings electronically during the state of emergency, even if a strata corporation does not have the bylaw ordinarily required to permit meetings by electronic means. Most of our clients have already shifted to telephone conference or online video meetings for their council meetings. This service has always been available free to our clients calling from Canada or the USA.
Some of our clients have preferred to conduct their council or annual general meetings in person- some councils discouraging in person attendance to avoid the contravening the prohibition on gatherings over 50 people that were in place before today’s orders. This approach was recently criticized by the Civil Resolution Tribunal at a meeting where many voters were denied an opportunity to vote in person or electronically. Even if unintentional voter suppression issues are cured, today’s orders will make the practice of restricted in person meetings impossible for most strata communities while the orders are in effect. Accordingly, we have adopted the following policy:
- Our staff are no longer permitted to attend any non-essential meeting with clients.
- Our staff will encourage all our clients to hold essential meetings by electronic means (phone, video conference or other appropriate method).
We understand that this may limit attendance at meetings by clients without computers or telephone. Our strata managers will advise strata councils on methods to engage meaningfully with owners while physical attendance at meetings is prohibited or unsafe.
A council member who attempts to force a meeting to be held in person by refusing to attend a teleconference, or other reasonable and accessible form of electronic meeting, does not mean that a meeting in person is essential. Bluntly, the safety of our staff and other owners in our clients’ buildings is more important than the opinion of a small minority of people who believe that the pandemic is a hoax, or the government orders are optional.
Appointments and attendance in person at our offices
Our offices have always been by appointment only. Most matters can be addressed by phone or email. Nonetheless, we have noticed that clients are increasingly ignoring our requests to make appointments and not drop-in unannounced.
Our staff tries to be accommodating whenever someone attends our office unannounced. Unfortunately, there have been increased incidents of verbally abusive and unsafe behaviour by some owners who refuse to make appointments and drop-in to the office while visibly ill, refuse to wear a mask, or refuse to use hand sanitizer when politely requested.
Considering the new surge in cases, heath orders and recommendations, and the behaviour of a very small minority of clients, we are imposing new restrictions for our office locations:
- Clients are no longer permitted within any shared office space at either of our locations.
- Our staff are permitted to meet with clients in person for essential matters only. Masks will be required by all parties and physical distancing will be enforced. Clients will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they arrive.
- Clients who “prefer” to drop off documents, cheques, or chat in person, will be asked to leave the document with reception or slip it under our office door. Clients who refuse to comply will be turned away and asked to mail their documents, payments, or requests.
Our prohibition on in person cash payments made on March 16, 2020 remains in place. Nonetheless, a small minority of clients have ignored our repeated requests to mail payments or pay by pre-authorized debit. For the safety of our staff and clients, we have issued a new guidance to our strata managers:
Our staff are encouraged to make written complaints to the strata council against any person who pays their fees after the due date and fails make reasonable efforts to pay their recurring fees on time.
If you do not already pay your fees by pre-authorized debit, we strongly encourage you to join the 96.7% who already do so. The sign-up form may be found here: https://inspirepm.com/PAD
If you must pay by cheque, mail the cheque rather than attend our office in person. It is best that you send post-dated cheques for the balance of the fiscal year, plus the 2 months into the next fiscal year or until the date that strata fees ordinarily change for your strata plan.
Paper Payments should be made payable to your strata plan and mailed to:
c/o Inspire Property Management Ltd.
P.O. Box 1060
Peachland, BC V0H1X0
Again, we ask that you not come to our offices without first calling ahead to make an appointment. We will let you know whether your attendance in person is essential.
If you need to deliver a document to our office, you are encouraged to contact the strata manager to confirm the correct address for delivery, fax it to (778) 760-9654, or email your strata manager at the email address for your community.
Inspire Property Management Ltd., per
President & Managing Broker