Apartment buildings teeming with residents staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic have experts warning of "cruise ships on land".
It's prompted an urgent call for government guidelines on Australian strata properties to prevent high-density outbreaks of COVID-19.
Amanda Farmer, who runs Sydney legal practice Lawyers Chambers, says without regulations, these living arrangements could be as dangerous as cruise ships.
"In the City of Sydney Council area alone, 80 per cent of residents live in strata buildings," Ms Farmer, a council member of the Australian College of Strata Lawyers, said on Friday.
"These high-density places will soon turn into cruise ships on land unless firm directives are put into place as soon as possible.
"Outbreaks are imminent and our buildings are simply ill-equipped to deal with them."
Meriton's 53-storey Altitude building in Parramatta is among those with new restrictions due to COVID-19.
Scheduled flat inspections are postponed and tenants send their own photos.
The owners corporation has provided hand sanitisers and urged people to practise social distancing, including standing 1.5m apart in lifts.
The frequency of cleaning also has ramped up, letters to tenants say.
PICA Group, a property services group, wrote to owners earlier this month to restrict face-to-face meetings with customers.
Australia has more than 316,000 strata schemes, with more than 2.2 million people living in apartments.
Almost half of them are renters, the 2018 Australian Strata Data Report states.
In NSW alone, 1.1 million renters live in almost 820,000 residential lots, with the bulk of apartment renters aged 20-39 years.
Over the border, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan said measures had been rolled out to keep people safe.
"For residential properties, preventative measures have been implemented by closing gyms, swimming pools, BBQ areas and similar environments," Ms Calnan told AAP on Friday.
Extra cleaning had been introduced along with reminders of social distancing in lifts, common corridors and car parking spaces, and annual general meetings had gone online or via the phone, she said.
Until the government establishes guidelines, strata managers must decide how to manage and enforce rules about COVID-19.
"There needs to be clear guidelines set out to follow. Otherwise, there will be a lack of compliance and the virus could really spread given such large groups of people living so closely together," Ms Farmer said.
For those living in small share houses such as Greta Stonehouse in Sydney's inner west, social distancing is a near impossible task.
"We are now crammed as hell on top of each other and would not be living together in this situation,if we could help it," she told AAP of living with three women.
"It is a small house designed to leave it and come back and now we are back constantly."
It comes after reports of 100-plus people being moved from a 35-storey Hong Kong housing block in February after four residents in two apartments tested positive for the virus.
Australian Associated Press