COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Renters and Landlords

Page updated on Jul 16, 2020 at 2:18 PM

Frequently Asked Questions for Renters

A renter in my building is infected with COVID-19. What can I do?

Property management and property owners are legally not allowed to share another tenant’s medical condition or disability with other renters. Because anyone could be sick and not have symptoms, you should take actions to protect yourself even if you do not know anyone with a diagnosis of COVID-19. Stay at least six feet away from other people who do not live in your household and stay home except for essential trips, such as buying food or going to the doctor. Learn more about how to protect yourself and your family on the City's COVID-19 website.

I have COVID-19. Do I need to tell my landlord?

No. You are not required to tell your landlord about a COVID-19 diagnosis. If you choose to disclose your diagnosis to the landlord, your landlord could tell your neighbors that there has been a diagnosis on the property, but your landlord is not allowed to share your name or apartment number with other tenants. 

Can I be evicted?
Your landlord cannot evict you or ask you to leave your residence because you have COVID-19 or any other medical condition. They also cannot evict you because you went to see a doctor.

My landlord thinks I have COVID-19 and will not let me into my home. What can I do?
Landlords cannot refuse entry or ask you to leave because of COVID-19 fear or for any other reason without a court order. If you have been illegally denied access to your home, contact the Office of Housing at 703.746.4990. Discrimination or harassment based on actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes is also illegal. If you are facing discrimination and harassment by your landlord, contact the Office of Human Rights at 703.746.3140.

Is management required to clean my unit with a cleaning professional if there are infected individual(s) in my apartment building?

No, they are responsible for cleaning in the common areas, but the insides of apartments are the responsibility of the tenant. The Alexandria Health Department has provided recommendations to all Alexandria landlords on how to clean common areas properly.

How do I clean and disinfect my home safely?

Follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ask your landlord what they are doing to clean and disinfect the common areas.

The landlord is trying to show my apartment to prospective renters.  I am afraid of being infected. Is there anything I can do? 

The Apartment and Office Building Association and the National Association of Realtors strongly discourage showing occupied units and have resources for virtual showing of properties. If you are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (you are over 65, have another health condition, or are pregnant), you can request that your landlord not enter your home until after you leave. You may need to provide medical documentation, but your medical provider does not have to reveal the nature of your condition or disability, only that it is medically necessary for you not to have visitors to your home while it is occupied. If you encounter difficulty with your landlord in this respect, contact the Office of Housing Landlord Tenant Relations Division at 703.746.4990.

Someone in my household is sick. How can I avoid getting sick?

Everyone can take steps to reduce the risk of getting sick. Follow these steps from the CDC to learn how to clean surfaces, laundry, and kitchen items.

My neighbor has tested positive for COVID-19.  Am I also infected?    

If you spend more than 10 minutes with someone with COVID-19 who is closer than 6 feet to you, you could have been exposed to the virus. Try to distance yourself from others, and contact your health provider if you or other members of your household have symptoms.

I am worried someone in my building has COVID-19. What can I do to protect myself?

Whether or not someone in your building has COVID-19, here are some steps you can take.

  • Do not crowd onto elevators. Consider only getting on with members of your own household, waiting for the next elevator, or taking the stairs.
  • If you must leave your residence, practice physical distancing. Stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering, especially since it may be difficult to stay six feet away from others in elevators, laundry rooms or other common areas.
  • Limit visitors to those who are providing essential services.

There are many people living in my home. How do we stay safe from COVID-19 if one of us is sick?

Follow this CDC guidance, available in multiple languages, for people living together in close quarters, such as people who share a small apartment, or for people who live in the same household with large or extended families.

I still have questions. Where can I find more information? 

Visit Office of Housing’s COVID-19 website for questions about tenant-landlord issues, eviction and foreclosure prevention resources, and emergency assistance.

The City has created a COVID-19 website where residents can find additional information and subscribe for updates in real time. The COVID-19 Hotline is available at 703.746.4988 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions for Landlords

I have a tenant who was diagnosed with COVID-19, or I believe a tenant may have COVID 19.  Do I need to seek confirmation and/or disclose this to other tenants? 

Absolutely not. Your tenants do not have to disclose their health status, including a COVID-19 diagnosis. There are also confidentiality and fair housing laws prohibiting inquiry into, or disclosure of a tenant’s medical condition or disability. As with any medical condition or disability the tenant has no responsibility to inform the landlord of the condition. If the tenant requests a reasonable accommodation based on a condition or disability, you may request medical documentation that the accommodation is necessary for the condition or disability, but you may not request details of the diagnosis or disability. The Alexandria Health Department will neither confirm nor deny individual cases.

Encourage your tenants and staff to take individual precautions, such as physical distancing from neighbors and frequent cleaning and handwashing. Other hygiene practices can be referenced at the City's COVID-19 website or the CDC.

How should I clean common areas to prevent COVID-19?

The Alexandria Health Department recommends following CDC guidance on how to properly disinfect areas while protecting employees. For additional questions and guidance, contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 703.746.4988 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

What are my responsibilities for cleaning and disinfecting a tenant’s unit if they test positive for COVID-19? 

A tenant is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their own unit, although the landlord may be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing the property for a future tenant. Additional guidance is available through the CDC and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

How can I stop the spread of COVID-19?

Whether or not someone in your building has COVID-19, here are some steps you can take.

  • Frequently clean high-touch surfaces. These include door handles, stairway railings, elevator buttons, reception desks, push plates, light switches and laundry room equipment. Follow the CDC’s guidance for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Post signs limiting the number of people who get on the elevator at the same time
  • Post signs limiting the number of people who can use the laundry room at the same time.
  • Post signs asking residents to practice physical distancing, including when getting packages or mail and going in or out of the building, to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and to wash their hands.
  • Consider offering alcohol-based hand sanitizer in common areas at all times.
  • Encourage staff to wear cloth face coverings.
  • Have building staff drop off packages or deliveries outside residents’ doors to minimize contact between staff and residents, and ask residents to instruct food delivery services to do the same.