BROWARD COUNTY, FL – A landlord in Florida has announced that he will require all of his tenants – whether they be new or existing – to provide concrete proof that they have been vaccinated if they wish to continue living in his apartment buildings.
Santiago Alvarez, 80, the owner of eight apartment buildings in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, instituted a new policy for his tenants as of August 15 where they will have to have gotten at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine if they have any interest in having their lease renewed.
“You don’t want to get vaccinated? You have to move,” Alvarez said. “And if you don’t move, one must move forward with eviction.”
However, Alvarez said that he would allow tenants to be exempt from this policy if they object on religious reasons, or if they have a pre-existing medical condition that prevents them from being able to receive the jab.
Long-time tenants would also get some leeway in terms of how long Alvarez will wait before they get vaccinated, although eventually they will be required to do so as well or face eviction.
Since Alvarez made the announcement, one of his tenants – Jasmine Irby, 28 – has registered a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, saying that she should not be required to reveal her private, personal medical history in order to renew her lease.
Irby’s lawyer also pointed out that Alvarez’s policy will be in direct violation with an executive order signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that disallows businesses in the state to refuse services to “customers or patrons” based on their vaccination status.
When presented with that argument, Alvarez countered that tenants are not in the same category as “customers or patrons” and should not be covered in the DeSantis’ order.
However, Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’press secretary, disagreed with Alvarez’s interpretation of the order, saying that the landlord will be breaking the law if he proceeds with his plan to require vaccination proof from his tenants.
“The law is very clear. He cannot require vaccine passports as a condition of entry,” Pushaw said. “Each violation of the law will result in a $5000 fine.”