A Florida landlord says tenants must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or move out

·2 min read
A Florida landlord says tenants must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or move out
apartment for rent
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  • Florida landlord Santiago Alvarez is requiring his tenants and employees get the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • At least one tenant is arguing they should not have to "disclose my personal health information."

  • Alvarez said he would make exceptions for people with medical or religious exemptions.

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A Florida landlord is requiring his tenants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue living on his property.

Santiago Alvarez announced in August that any new tenants as well as those renewing their leases would be required to show proof of vaccination. The rule will also apply to his employees, who will face termination if they do not comply, The Washington Post reported.

Alvarez, who oversees 1,200 apartment units, told The Post at least twelve of his tenants had already died from COVID-19.

"It very much upsets me that my employees are exposed to [covid-19] all days of the week because there is someone who does not want to get vaccinated," Alvarez said. "If you don't want to get vaccinated, I have the obligation and the duty to protect my workers and tenants."

One tenant, Jasmine Irby, complained to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to protest Alvarez's new policy, arguing she should be able to renew her lease "without having to disclose my personal health information," The Post reported. Irby, who does not plan on getting vaccinated, ultimately moved out when her lease ended in August.

Alvarez told The Post most of his tenants were grateful for the new requirement.

"You don't want to get vaccinated? You have to move," Alvarez said. "It's a lack of consideration for your neighbor, it's a lack of consideration to their own families, to their children."

In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned state agencies and local business from requiring "vaccine passports."

DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told Alvarez's policy violates the state's ban.

"Florida law is very clear. A business owner (landlord) cannot require vaccine passports as a condition of entry. Each violation of the law will result in a $5000 fine," Pushaw said, adding that the Florida Department of Health will be in charge of enforcing the ban when it goes into effect on September 16.

"By the way, Mr. Alvarez and all who agree with him should be informed that vaccinated people can still transmit COVID to others, although they're protected against severe illness," Pushaw added. "The idea of requiring vaccine passports is unscientific and will not achieve 'lower cases.' Without mandates, cases are dropping rapidly in Florida on their own."

Alvarez's attorney, who told The Post Alvarez will allow for medical and religious exemptions, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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