COVID-19 and Off-Campus Housing

Monday, March 16, 2020

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This is a very unique time in the world with ramifications for the off-campus housing industry. We encourage everyone to stay calm, work together, and check trusted sources for updates.


Open Communication Between Landlords and Students:


Students are urged to communicate directly with their landlords regarding their school's in-class calendar changes due to COVID-19, as well as how it may effect their housing needs. Some academic institutions may extend their school semester into the summer, while others may cancel classes all together until the fall term. There are currently many uncertainties about these developments, so open communication between landlords and students will be very important in the coming weeks.


Landlords should consider allowing students who may need to move back home early the ability to sublet. Some students living on-campus have been relocated due to school closures; therefore, subletting may help with any temporary housing requirements. International students would be most in need. It's highly recommended that all parties involved be flexible and adaptable to this ever-changing situation.


Resources for COVID-19 Updates:


United States - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Government of Canada - Health Department

Ontario Ministry of Health

World Health Organization



Four Safety Practice Tips for Landlords - Provided by LandlordBC:


Below are some recommended practices aimed at keeping landlords and tenants safe. 


These steps include ensuring more regular cleaning of high traffic areas such as entryways, lobbies, and elevators with disinfecting products. These practices are strongly encouraged to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in multi-unit rental buildings.

1. Showing Suites to Potential Tenants or Purchasers

Our general advice is to NOT show occupied suites currently; when possible, limit showings to already vacant suites. If showing a tenanted unit is not avoidable, we encourage extra precautions to prevent transmission. These recommendations include:


  • Avoid shaking hands and keep your social distancing (2 meters) 

  • Instruct potential tenants/purchasers to not touch anything 

  • Wipe down door handles and anything that you touch when showing the unit 

  • Wash your hands before and after showing the unit 


2. Common Areas

Shared laundry facilities present a unique challenge.  We recommend communicating to your residents to limit their use of shared laundry facilities and try to use them during off peak times. Where possible building managers should be sure to conduct more frequent cleaning of these shared laundry facilities with disinfecting products.
We recommend closing shared amenities such as gyms, pools and recreation rooms. Landlords should be clear in their communications with tenants that the closing of these facilities is temporary and that they will be re-opened as soon as deemed safe. These communications should include both signage and individual notices posted on tenants doors.

3. Elevator Usage

Public health authorities are recommending people practice common sense social distancing and while the recommended distance people keep is 2 meters, this can be difficult in elevators. We suggest posting signage recommending tenants and occupants not get into already full elevators to ensure everyone can maintain adequate distance as advised. Signage should be posted on each floor to ensure all tenants and occupants are informed.

4. Guests

While guests cannot necessarily be restricted, it is reasonable to request that residents recognize their responsibility for their own health and safety and the health and safety of fellow residents. Therefore, request tenants not to invite guests, especially those recently returning to Canada from a foreign country, and to support the social distancing recommendations from our healthcare leaders. 



SEE ALSO:  COVID-19 Update