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Florida Landlord Issues Vaccine Mandate for Tenants

By Megan Williams | September 16, 2021 | 11:46am EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A landlord in South Florida is requiring tenants to get vaccinated or face eviction, despite Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order that prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, reported The Washington Post on Sept. 15.

“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,” Santiago A. Alvarez, the landlord, told The Post. “If you don’t want to get vaccinated, I have the obligation and the duty to protect my workers and tenants.”

Alvarez is willing to give exceptions to tenants with medical or religious objections, and will allow some long-term tenants more time to meet the requirement.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Otherwise, “You don’t want to get vaccinated? You have to move,” he said. “And if you don’t move, one must move forward with eviction.” 

Along with his executive orders, DeSantis has fought against vaccine and mask mandates in Florida, arguing immunization is a personal choice that individuals must make for themselves.

The lawyer of a previous tenant, who moved out once the vaccine was required for residence,  wrote Alvarez a letter, asserting this requirement violated the governor’s order.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).   (Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). (Getty Images)

“The law is very clear,” a spokeswoman for DeSantis told The Washington Post. The governor’s office will issue $5,000 fines to any businesses, government institutions, or educational facilities found to be violating the law once it goes into effect on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Alvarez’s attorney said he was not in violation of this law because his tenants are not customers or consumers, he is not offering a good or a service.

Receiving messages of support from most tenants and employees for his mandate, Alvarez believes he is helping to protect his community.

Not getting vaccinated is “a lack of consideration for your neighbor, it’s a lack of consideration to their families, to their children,” Alvarez told The Post.

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