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wellness checks

Wellness checks and death entry-RHINO is still can help!

Terri in Columbus has challenged RHINO with two tough (and related) questions so after long thought and consideration the communitymanager decided to crowdsource them to you!  Here's question 1 and some responses 

Terri asks:  How can a property manager conduct a daily "wellness checks" on frail tenants without violating the requirement that manager must give a 24 hour notice before entering except in case of an emergency.

  • Could tenant waive her/his right to a 24 hour notice?  Maybe not.  ORC 5321.13 says that a rental agreement cannot modify a landlord duty (in this case the duty to give 24 hour notice.  *This is not a crystal clear interpretation, but, as my friend Joyce asks:  "Do you want to have your name on a test case?"  Courts have looked unfavorably on situations where owner has a waiver of right to notice of entry as a part of the request for maintenance.

  • Manager could give a daily notice of intent to enter but might run afoul of 5321.04 (B) which creates civil penalties for "repeated requests for entry which have the effect of harassment".  this is a section of the landlord tenant law which property managers often overlook so it is worth quoting in detail:  (B) If the landlord makes an entry in violation of division (A)(8) of this section, makes a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner, or makes repeated demands for entry otherwise lawful that have the effect of harassing the tenant, the tenant may recover actual damages resulting from the entry or demands, obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, and obtain a judgment for reasonable attorney's fees, or may terminate the rental agreement.  Property manager and tenant (and tenant relatives) would need to have a pretty iron clad (written) set of agreements that this procedure would not be perceived as harassment.

  • WHY would property manager want to create a new duty with potential liability? 

    • Lets suppose that property manager and tenant establish a clear request for a "wellness check up" and the tenant (and significant others) gives a statement that such entry would not constitute harassment...and then the property manager fails to make a check (maybe late for work or unexpected absence)...and something happens to the tenant?  Is manager liable?

    • Lets suppose property manager creates a "wellness check" protocol with one frail tenant and other tenants or family learn of the "service" and require that they get wellness checks too?

  • Could a "wellness check" be a reasonable accommodation?  Sure, but a property manager could also take exemption from creating this obligation in the fact that "wellness checking" changes the character of the program (providing housing) and/or creates an "undue burden" on the property manager.  (consistent with the concept of "interactive process" manager should engage in a discussion of what other options could be provided, eg.  extra keys for a 3rd party "checker.")

  • REMINDER:  The RHINO Community Manager a curmudgeon on the topic of having a firewall between property management and social services.  The gray area is fraught with peril for both managers and tenants.   

Notes & Links
(coming soon)

Emergency Alarm systems

Entry on death