Can Private HOA, Apartment Or Condo Associations Prevent Access to Census Workers?

Rick Magliano

When does your association make an exception to the restricted building or property access regulations? When the government is doing the asking.

Once again, the government is ramping up efforts to tally the country’s population. With the 2010 census about to get underway, the US Census Bureau is asking apartment and condo associations to help them reach as many residents as possible. Since participation in the census is a federal requirement, associations need to determine how census workers will gain access, especially in secured facilities.

And make no mistake – census workers are given carte blanche when it comes to gaining access and possibly gaining repeated access in order to fully complete their responsibilities. Associations cannot deny access to any census taker who has shown proper identification.

In order to comply with federal regulations, make sure your property managers or any security staff understand that access must be granted to census workers. That includes allowing them access to secured buildings and any apartments they request. They are allowed to knock on doors, ring doorbells, use call boxes, etc. Also, there may be times when the census workers must return to the building to attempt resident contact again. If census workers cannot locate occupants, they are within their rights to ask property managers and associations for occupancy information. While you’re not expected to supply the information immediately, you should provide the requested information within a reasonable amount of time.

But how do you know if the census worker is legitimate? All census workers will be issued a census badge, which property managers may ask to see. When in doubt, contact the nearest Regional Census Center to verify a census taker’s status.

Associations should expect to see census takers after the April 1st deadline, in which all residents are required to return their mailed questionnaires. Expected in-person visits are slated from May through August of this year.

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