Florida Landlord Requiring Tenants To Get COVID Vaccine
By Bill Galluccio
September 16, 2021
A Florida landlord has told his tenants that if they want to remain in their apartments, they must get vaccinated against COVID-19. Santiago Alvarez told the Washington Post that he made the decision after 12 of his nearly 1,200 tenants died from COVID-19. He said that he has an obligation to protect his workers and other tenants.
"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 explained to the Post. "If you don't want to get vaccinated, I have the obligation and the duty to protect my workers and tenants."
The policy took effect on August 15, and all tenants were told they must provide proof of vaccination when they renew their lease.
"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."
While Alvarez said that most of his tenants support the new policy, at least one person, Jasmine Irby, refused to comply and filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service. In the end, Irby decided to vacate her apartment when her lease expired on August 31.
"No one wants to live anywhere where they are not wanted … If that's the case, then I might as well get out," Irby said. "It was just best that I walked away."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, said that Alvarez's policy is against the law and that he faces a $5,000 fine per violation.
"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.
"I think my decision was right, and I will defend it anyway I can. If I get fined, I will go to court with it," he said