Disaster Response Discussion Board

Renter Rights and Issues

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    Dear Fellow Counselors:

    I would appreciate any comments you might have on a situation my daughter is in.  She lives in Washington DC in a house she rents with 3 others.  They are all in sync relative to sheltering in place and she feels safe.  Unfortunately, they selected a roommate 4 weeks ago to replace a roommate who had to leave.  The roommate is moving in with a day or two.  They just got a text from her saying that her workmate at the clinic she works at has a fever.  My daughter and her roommates are very concerned about the roommate moving in prior to resolving the potential virus infection, but also know concerned about rooming with someone who works in a clinic exposed to virus.

    What should she do?  Beyond the personal issue, their is the issue of the rights of medical workers to rent and how you balance that with safety issues.  If my daughter was older or had a pre-existing condition, it would seem to be a no-brainer.  What does the new tenant do?  If she has to move, where does she go?

    Just one of many challenging issues.  What if you are an office building with medical tenants?  What liability does the building owner have?  What rights to other tenants have?

    This could go on a long time, because older people or people with health concerns would be prudent to socially isolate until either an effective vaccine or some sort of herd immunity reduce virus risk to a low level–maybe 9 to 18 months or more.


    Hi Scott, this is a tough situation.  Here in Quebec, the protocol would be for that individual (who has potentially been exposed) to self isolate within the dwelling with no contact with any other member – not necessarily an obvious thing to do depending on how big of a place your daughter lives in.  Very difficult choice to make between doing the right thing for society vs protecting yourself.  Hope you and Sue are doing well and stay safe.



    You are right, it is tough.  Julia and her roommates decided to not let the person move-in–apparently she had an option to live somewhere else so no legal challenge likely.  The real issue is what do you do when roommates have different opinions about what is safe practice–wow.  Sue and I are doing well–we have a nice place and room to roam.  Hope you and Rose are safe and sound.



    Hi Scott…glad to hear you are both well.

    I think your daughter and her roommates made the correct choice given the situation. My comment is more to the daughter issue than the Renter Rights issue. My daughter also lives in DC in a condo, but has no roommates. She does have an immune-system issue, though, and decided over the weekend to ride out the peak of the Covid-19 surge at our summer home in New Hampshire (her workplace is on a work from home basis). She was very careful to maintain distance from us when she stopped here in Connecticut on the way north. She also commented on how eerie it was to be the only vehicle at times on stretches of the New Jersey Turnpike.

    We all have some difficult choices to make as we face this incredible experience and will have more difficult choices ahead when we begin to return to the evolving new normal.

    Stay well and safe. Peace…


    Glad that the situation is resolved. For reference, please note that Airbnb is creating a platform to connect frontline healthcare workers with standalone living space. If you or someone you know has space that allows for no-contact living (an empty hotel room, apartment, granny flat, garage loft, nanny’s quarters, …), you can add it to the Airbnb platform to match with a potential health care worker that needs to quarantine or shelter away from their own family.

    If you have space, you can offer it for free, or a reduced rate, or full price. Airbnb is waiving its fees for these listings.

    Stay well, friends!



    Dear Monica:

    Thanks for this information–very helpful.  I will pass on to my daughter.  I hope you and your family are safe and sound.


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