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2021 FAA Legislative Priority #1: COVID-19 Liability Protections for Housing Providers

Advocacy News ,
Issue:
Despite housing providers’ best efforts to protect residents and employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an unprecedented threat of legal liability.
Background:
Like many other essential businesses, housing providers have worked diligently during the pandemic to ensure apartment communities can continue to provide a clean, safe, and well maintained home for Florida’s 2.8 million renters. The rental housing industry has taken extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of both employees and residents by creating new procedures to reduce in-person interaction, implementing amenity changes to adapt to the COVID-19 environment, offering virtual tours and meetings with apartment leasing staff, and so much more. 
How This Impacts the Apartment Industry:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, housing providers and their employees have been deemed essential workers. The housing industry has worked diligently to help existing residents remain in their homes, while also welcoming new residents into their ideal apartment home. At a time when Floridians are spending more time at home than ever before, the continued operation of Florida’s apartment communities remains essential to providing a safe place for Florida’s 2.8 million apartment residents to call home. 
Unfortunately, an apartment community’s essential operation comes with increased liability risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this increased litigation risk, reasonable and temporary liability protections for essential businesses are needed to ensure housing providers can continue to perform the functions necessary to provide quality rental homes for residents. Housing providers who continue to heed state, federal, and local guidelines to protect residents and employees must be protected from litigation. 
Legislative Solution:
The Florida Apartment Association urges the Legislature to pass HB 7 (Rep. McClure) and SB 72 (Sen. Brandes) to provide reasonable COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, including housing providers during the pandemic. If this legislation were enacted, businesses that make a good faith effort to substantially comply with applicable COVID-19 guidance would be immune from liability from a COVID-19-related civil action