Are Tenants Really Required To Be Vaccinated?

System - Saturday, April 23, 2022
Property Management Blog

An Overview of the Tenant Vaccine Issue in Florida

When the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States in 2020, going anywhere without fear of acquiring the illness was practically impossible. There was a potential of running across someone who had the virus everywhere you went. From grocery stores to restaurants. It could even be one of your condo or apartment building's neighbors.

There was little anyone could do at the time except exercise, social distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing. When the COVID-19 vaccines became available, however, things began to change for the better. Vaccines provided protection and aided in the restoration of some sort of routine. People suddenly had something they could do to protect themselves and others from the virus.

However, the development of COVID-19 vaccines raised another issue: whether or not requiring them violated people's rights. It is a personal decision to get the vaccine, and some companies have faced blowback for only serving vaccinated customers. Since then, the issue has expanded to other areas, hurting both landlords and tenants.

Can Landlords Demand the COVID Vaccine for Tenants?

Landlords are not unusual in imposing limitations and conditions on tenants. A landlord, for example, can forbid renters from keeping dogs on the property. When it comes to immunizations, though, the topic becomes more difficult to handle.

President Joe Biden pushed state officials to enact stronger vaccine and mask-wearing regulations. All federal employees and contractors, as well as health personnel in Medicare and Medicaid-funded facilities, were required to get the vaccine, according to Biden.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, on the other hand, issued executive orders forbidding government and business entities from forcing "patrons or customers" to produce proof of vaccination. DeSantis, who has already received his immunization, has even stated publicly that it is an individual preference.

Alvarez made this decision to protect his renters and employees in the case of the South Florida apartment vaccine requirement. Irby's lawyer accused Alvarez of violating DeSantis' executive order.

Alvarez's lawyer, on the other hand, maintained that his client had done nothing wrong because tenants are not "patrons or customers." Furthermore, no other state or local laws or ordinances are being broken. Unvaccinated people aren't considered a protected class under federal or state law, therefore they can't be accused of discrimination.

Residents who refuse to receive the vaccine could face retaliation. Things might soon deteriorate, possibly leading to physical violence.

Also Read: How Can Landlords Support Their Tenants during COVID-19?

The Bottom Line

The Florida tenant vaccine requirement is a tricky subject, but it will likely inspire other landlords to follow suit. It's difficult to say whether or not compelled vaccination is against the law. This is because it's still a relatively new topic in the landlord-tenant relationship. While there are currently no explicit statutes, there will almost certainly be clarifications in the future.