HOA backs off request for homeowners to report COVID-19 status

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WDAF) — A Kansas City metro-based homeowners association is reconsidering a request to its residents, having previously asked its homeowners to self-report cases of COVID-19.

Property owners within two Kansas City metro subdivisions, both maintained by FirstService Residential Missouri/Kansas, received a letter this week informing them of the requirement to report COVID-19 cases within their residence.

One of those subdivisions is in Olathe, Kansas, while the other sits in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

A portion of the letter read: “It is the intent of FirstService Residential to promptly send a notification to every owner, if we have a confirmed case reported. In fact, the letter has already been drafted and approved by your Board to send, if necessary.”

FirstService Residential’s letter assured it would keep each reported case confidential, and a sanitization plan would be devised to address any needs involving those cases.

On Wednesday, a Florida-based public relations firm responded to a request for comment from FirstService Residential, clarifying that the request was meant to be voluntary and not a requirement.

“Our intent with the previous letter was to encourage residents to self-report in an abundance of caution, especially as more shelter-in-place orders keep us in one place,” read the second letter.

The Jackson County, Missouri, Health Department advised FirstService Residential to retract that request, and health officials in Johnson County, Kansas, said the JCDHE does not condone any private or public entity asking for a person’s health-related information.

A Kansas City metro attorney, who asked that his name be withheld, said the current COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t change HIPAA privacy laws.

A representative for FirstService Residential’s public relations firm said, as of Wednesday evening, the second letter had not yet been delivered to residents.