Florida landlord requiring proof of vaccinations from tenants

Florida landlord requiring proof of vaccinations from tenants
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A Florida landlord will require all new and existing tenants show proof of vaccination to reside in his buildings. 

As of Aug. 15, Santiago Alvarez, who owns eight apartment buildings in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, will mandate that tenants prove they have received at least an initial COVID-19 vaccination before renewing their lease, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel

“You don’t want to get vaccinated? You have to move,” 80-year-old Alvarez told The Washington Post. “And if you don’t move, one must move forward with eviction.”

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Alvarez has said he would make exceptions for people who choose not to get vaccinated for religious or medical reasons. He also said he would allow more time for long-term tenants to get their first dose of the vaccine, according to the Post. 

The news from Florida comes after President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE announced a new rule through the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration that would require businesses with 100 employees or more to require vaccines or frequent testing. 

At least one tenant, 28-year-old Jasmine Irby, has filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Irby argued that she should be able to renew her lease “without having to disclose my personal health information,” the Post reported.  

Irby's attorney also wrote to Alvarez saying that his policy was in violation of Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters GOP senators call on Biden to back down from vaccine mandates DeSantis to call special session of legislature to fight vaccine mandates MORE's (R) executive order prohibiting businesses from making policies that require vaccination as a condition of entering.

However, the landlord believes his policy is not in violation of the governor's order as that order is intended for "customers or patrons" and not for tenants, Alvarez's lawyer told the Post. 

"The law is very clear. He cannot require vaccine passports as a condition of entry. Each violation of the law will result in a $5000 fine," DeSantis's press secretary Christina Pushaw said in an email to The Hill. 

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Pushaw added that COVID-19 transmissions still occur among vaccinated people.

"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," she said. 

According to weekly COVID-19 data from the Florida Department of Health, 69 percent of Floridians are vaccinated, and the state saw a 13.5 percent case positivity rate last week. 

The Hill has reached out to Alvarez's lawyer for comment.