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As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, many companies hope to protect their employees and limit the spread of the virus by imposing vaccination warrants. To be clear, this is something employers are legally allowed to do, although they generally have to make exceptions and / or accommodations for those who cannot get the vaccine for religious or health-related reasons. .
But it’s not just employers who impose vaccine rules. Homeowners are starting to take a similar path.
In September, a Florida landlord sparked an uproar by demanding that tenants show proof of vaccination or that a lease renewal be refused. The question is: can your landlord require you to get vaccinated? And what if it’s not a step you want to take?
Local rules apply
Whether your landlord can require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine depends on your state of residence. In most states, landlords have the right to require proof of vaccination before signing or renewing a lease. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that landlords can demand such proof at mid-lease or evict tenants on the basis of not being vaccinated.
When you sign a lease to rent a house, you are entering into a contract. You are required to abide by the terms of this contract. If this contract states that you must present proof of a COVID-19 vaccine, this is a condition that you will need to meet in order to sign or renew a lease. But if you are renting under an existing lease without this specification, you may not have to take any action until that lease is renewed.
Of course, just as businesses are required to offer exemptions or accommodations for religious or health-related constraints, owners are generally required to do the same. But here the laws get complicated, because in some cases it can be difficult to determine what constitutes a valid compulsion.
What to do if you are not vaccinated and your landlord requires it
Generally speaking, the reason landlords want proof of vaccination is to protect their tenants. If you’re concerned about your lack of vaccine but don’t want to receive a vaccine and don’t qualify for an exemption, you may want to talk to your landlord if your lease needs to be renewed. Your landlord may, for example, agree to waive this requirement if you are willing to hide in all common areas of your building or undergo regular COVID-19 tests.
Of course, as a tenant, you should not hesitate to consult a lawyer if you feel that your rights are being violated, or if you want to better understand what they are. Landlord-tenant laws can vary from state to state, so it’s not a bad idea to arm yourself with information.
Plus, while more homeowners can now demand COVID-19 vaccines, many are not. If you don’t want to get shot, there’s a good chance you can find a lease elsewhere without this warrant.
Granted, that could mean having to move to a more expensive house. And that could mean having to dip into your savings to make a move easier. But anyway, for the most part tenants who don’t want to keep up with their landlord’s vaccination mandates have a few options.
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