Press Release

The Real Estate Board of New York, 32BJ SEIU and The Realty Advisory Board Issue Joint, Industrywide Guidelines for Safety in Market-Rate Residential Buildings as New York City Begins New York Forward


June 9, 2020

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Real Estate Industry and Labor Union Leaders Collaborate to Create Most Comprehensive Practices to Date for Residential Buildings to Put Public Health and Safety First as New York City Resumes Business and Social Activities

NEW YORK, NY – The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), 32BJ SEIU and Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc., (RAB) today issued New York City’s most comprehensive safety and health guidelines for market-rate residential buildings in New York City, including multifamily rentals, cooperatives and condominiums, as the City enters Phase One and prepares for Phase Two of New York Forward.

The coalition created the comprehensive Best Practices for Market-Rate Residential Buildings in Phases One and Two of New York Forward to help protect the health and safety of residents, building workers and visitors as New York City begins to restart economic activity.

The guidelines will arm building owners and property managers with concrete strategies based on the recommendations of governmental and public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health, and are consistent with requirements set forth in New York’s Interim Guidance for Real Estate Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

A summary of some of the coalition’s key guidelines for maintaining the health and safety of residential buildings in New York City include:

  • Review all building systems. Certain protections may be applied to existing and new HVAC systems to minimize future spreading of the virus in buildings. Owners and managers should consult evolving guidance from ASHRAE, CDC and other public health and professional organizations to follow recommended practices.

  • Develop protocols for outside vendors. Ensure that vendors performing building maintenance or construction work comply with State and City guidelines including wearing face coverings and limiting occupancy in enclosed spaces.

  • Protect building workers. Owners and property managers will need to ensure that building service workers have appropriate PPE and training on new procedures and are staffed at sufficient levels.

  • Adapt amenity spaces to adhere to public health guidelines. When allowed to reopen, building owners and property managers should ensure amenity spaces are appropriately supervised, proper social distance is maintained and all guidelines are communicated to residents and staff.

  • Conduct daily health screenings. Owners and property managers will need to be prepared to conduct health screenings of their employees and visitors to the building.

  • Revise building entrance and exit protocols to ensure social distancing. This includes facilitating contactless entry and exit of buildings and installing social-distancing floor markers in building lobbies.

  • Post signage detailing new protocols. Building owners and managers should post signs describing new protocols, physical designations and health guidelines for tenants throughout the building.

  • Promote good hygiene. Residential buildings should ensure hand cleaning stations are readily available throughout building common spaces, including entrances and exits; security and concierge desks; elevators and lobbies, and that they include either soap, water, paper towels and touchless trash, or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Establish protocols for leasing and viewings. Safety measures while renting or selling units should include staggered appointments, showings only for unoccupied or vacant units and utilization of social distancing and face coverings. Lease signings and closings should be conducted electronically as much as possible.

“We join all New Yorkers in thanking the residential owners, managers and building service workers who have kept New Yorkers safe in their homes during this crisis. As New York City enters Phase One of New York Forward this week and countless New Yorkers prepare to leave their homes and go back to work, we want to provide guidance to ensure City residents and workers remain safe,” said REBNY President James Whelan, who also serves on both the Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board and Mayor de Blasio’s Reopening Advisory Council for the Construction and Real Estate Sector. “Our essential building workers and managers have done an incredible job of keeping residents safe and these guidelines will help ensure that work is recognized and continued as we begin to revitalize the City.”

“We are pleased to work closely with REBNY on some of the most comprehensive reopening guidelines in the country. These guidelines were carefully designed to protect the health of building service workers and residents with stringent cleaning, maintenance, security and social distance protocols,” said Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU. “Doorpersons, supers, porters, handypersons and all building service workers have been vital to allowing NYC residents to shelter in place, saving thousands of lives in the process. Our highly-trained members are an important part of reopening and deserve PPE, safe staffing levels and other protections on the job as they safeguard the city’s residents. By supporting essential building service workers, we protect everyone in our community.”

“Throughout this pandemic, building service workers have gone above and beyond to provide the essential services New York residents rely on,” said Howard Rothschild, President of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations. “Now, with reopening underway, these guidelines will ensure that workers and residents continue to remain safe and best practices are followed for the benefit of all across the city.”

Download the coalition’s complete Best Practices for Market-Rate Residential Buildings in Phases One and Two of New York Forward here. You can also download the New York’s Interim Guidance for Real Estate Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency here.

REBNY has created a host of guidelines for the real estate industry to support the New York Forward plan, including:

These and other resources for the real estate industry related to the Coronavirus pandemic are available on REBNY’s Coronavirus Resource Hub website.

REBNY created its Coronavirus Resource Hub in March 2020 to provide a dedicated and centralized source of information to help individuals and businesses navigate the rapidly changing business climate during the Coronavirus crisis. The resource hub provides trusted information to support REBNY members, and the real estate industry and the public at large – regardless of membership status in the trade association – with critical details about how to get and give help during the pandemic. For more information about REBNY’s the Coronavirus Resource Hub, please visit

New York City began Phase One of the New York Forward Plan June 8, which includes the resumption of nonessential construction and manufacturing, in addition to certain nonessential retail businesses. Under the New York Forward Plan, a region must operate for two weeks in any given phase before proceeding to the next phase. Real estate services are included in Phase Two of the New York Forward Plan.

For more information about reentering residential buildings, or for additional REBNY guidelines for brokers and agents, visit

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association. Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate. REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit


An affiliate of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, which has 2.1 million members dedicated to raising industry standards, 32BJ is concentrated in the Northeast and includes such union workers as cleaners, property maintenance workers, doormen, security officers, window cleaners, building engineers, and school and food service workers.


The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc., (RAB) was formed in 1933 as an organization through which employers in the building service industry could bargain with unions. The RAB represents building owners in one of the most unionized industries in New York City and its building service workers are among one of the highest paid in the country.


Beth Miller
(212) 616-5223

Sara Klein
(212) 616-5253