Requiring COVID vaccination in owner-occupied building

20 Replies

Let's say the owner of a multifamily, owner-occupied building is immuno-compromised. When listing for new tenants, would it be legitimate -- and would it be wise -- to require proof of full COVID vaccination? Would it make sense even to list that preference will be given to fully vaccinated applicants? What would be the upsides and downsides of doing so?

Are you going to check them for measles, flu, meningitis, shingles, etc? Are you going to tell them they can't have guests unless the guests can show proof of vaccination? What if they have the common cold or flu?

What's more important to you: rental income, or your health? If staying alive is more important than earning a few bucks, I recommend you sell the investment property and purchase a single-family home or a duplex with totally separate spaces so you can control your environment. I think it's unrealistic and unfair to expect everyone else to live in a bubble so you can live free.

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@Suzanne Lord if you are renting a room in your house sure this would be reasonable but in some states it might not even be legal to ask in that instance.  In a separate unit when showing you can request distancing and mask wearing.  I started many recent showings with something like I normally would shake your hand but we are keeping our distance with covid.  Many of the people I showed to recently volunteered their vaccination status when I said this.  There is nothing saying you can't favor people who distance and mask just like you can judge people by a dirty car. Not sure if you can require it.

The furthest I would go is to say something like they need to wear a mask on showing if you require that.  people can also tell you they are vaccinated and they are not. They also can have visitors or children that aren't vaccinated.

I would not be in favor of this, no.  Main reason is this is not settled in the courts for really anyone.  The Fed rule through OSHA was rejected in the courts.  This district court has upheld that rule and that district court has rejected this rule.  Rules and laws are a complete mess so I wouldn't touch it with a 6' pole and a mask at this point.  Just a huge can of worms.  

Hi Nathan, schools mandate for the things you listed. What a relief that I don't have too! I would not be the first co-living arrangement to require visitors remain outside the building. I almost do not have the heart to tell you this, but life is unfair.

"Rental income or health" is a false dilemma.

 Beyond what I feel it is moral obligation to not put people at risk needlessly, is best for business.  Having sick or dead team members and collecting rent from dead tenants creates scheduling issues and degree of complexity that I would love to avoid! The vaccine is being increasingly mandated for all kinds of situations because they work. 

I am looking for input that offers real value and context.

Yes the legal issues are what I am watching. 

For co-living we don't allow cats or dogs be cause of household members with allergies. That is legal. It seems reasonable that if you can do that for health reasons then requiring health protocols relating to Covid would be similar. 

For separate entranced furnished units we are trying to make things safe for housekeeping in a volatile legal climate.

Congress (at teh fed level) hasn't mandated it for themselves but you are for your tenants?  

As for your moral/safety concerns, are you 100% sure it is safe long term, or short term for that matter?  Someone gets a clot or heart issue and dies after taking it to satisfy you, does that open you up to liability?  Someone doesn't take it and dies of COVID (your fear) they are dead either way.

Legally this is a mess and by making your own personal mandate you are simply adding another layer of liability to the mess.  Before doing it I would check in with a lawyer and your insurance company.  

Originally posted by @Suzanne Lord:

Having sick or dead team members and collecting rent from dead tenants creates scheduling issues and degree of complexity that I would love to avoid! The vaccine is being increasingly mandated for all kinds of situations because they work. 

Engage in exaggeration much? And no, it has not been proven at all that they work....I know a number of people including family, that have got Covid after being vaccinated. If you want to play God or Govt, go right ahead, you just are going to have an uphill battle on your hands. Why bother? Get out of the Landlord business and put your money where you can get the same returns without the drama and hyperbole........

Originally posted by @Suzanne Lord:

Hi Nathan, schools mandate for the things you listed. What a relief that I don't have too! I would not be the first co-living arrangement to require visitors remain outside the building. I almost do not have the heart to tell you this, but life is unfair.

"Rental income or health" is a false dilemma.

 Beyond what I feel it is moral obligation to not put people at risk needlessly, is best for business.  Having sick or dead team members and collecting rent from dead tenants creates scheduling issues and degree of complexity that I would love to avoid! The vaccine is being increasingly mandated for all kinds of situations because they work. 

I am looking for input that offers real value and context.

"Real value and context" would be the scientific reality that vaccinated people still carry and transmit COVID-19. The vaccine only reduces the risk of extreme symptoms. Vaccinated people do not present less of a risk to you than unvaccinated, which is why any talk of mandates is unscientific and ridiculous to people with common sense.

What will you do about guests? Contractors? USPS, UPS, and FedEx? Solicitors? You can't force the whole world to get a vaccine and even if they did, they would still have the ability to carry and transmit the virus to you.

Isn't that information of value?

There are many angles that are in favor of requiring your tenants to have COVID vaccinations. Many. Your own health is one of them. Do it, if it suits your purposes. You're unlikely to see many of your tenants, on average, suffer from debilitating effects of COVID, should they be vaccinated, as well. Despite the obviously uninformed and questionable experience, beyond forum posting, of the opinions above, this isn't an unreasonable requirement and the courts have largely agreed, and where they haven't it's quite clear from the tone of the rulings, that they soon shall. 

What does this do to your bottom line, as a landlord? Well, should one of the non-vaccinated wise-ones decide to come down with COVID (decide is the correct word, since the decision to not contract it, via the vaccine, was also made), how will they pay their rent? What if they are hospitalized for weeks? What if they then survive, post hospitalization, and they are unable to work for months on end or are saddled with collections from their medical bills (they will be)? The eviction expense will be yours to bear, if you're even able to evict them, given this circumstance. 

This is business and in business do what's best for you and protect your investment to the fullest. The suggestion by someone above that you "should sell your property" is quite sad and unprofessional, as was the sarcastic statement of "[a]re you going to check the check for measles too." Well, last I studied, measles, was essentially eradicated from the planet, via a little thing called A VACCINE... ...that is, until some really smart people decided to not provide the vaccine to their young children -which you know, worked really well, causing measles outbreaks, amongst those clever ones, to the extent we've not seen in 50 years. 

 Requesting proof of vaccines, in your situation, is obviously warranted and many will gravitate towards your property, as a result -as you all above already know. 

If potential tenants don't like it, they don't have to look at your property. Such requirements exists via thousands of landlords across the country. You're not alone and across the world, this is becoming a fairly common requirement. 

Best of luck. 

Originally posted by @Michael S.:

There are many angles that are in favor of requiring your tenants to have COVID vaccinations. Many. Your own health is one of them. Do it, if it suits your purposes. You're unlikely to see many of your tenants, on average, suffer from debilitating effects of COVID, should they be vaccinated, as well. Despite the obviously uninformed and questionable experience, beyond forum posting, of the opinions above, this isn't an unreasonable requirement and the courts have largely agreed, and where they haven't it's quite clear from the tone of the rulings, that they soon shall. 

What does this do to your bottom line, as a landlord? Well, should one of the non-vaccinated wise-ones decide to come down with COVID (decide is the correct word, since the decision to not contract it, via the vaccine, was also made), how will they pay their rent? What if they are hospitalized for weeks? What if they then survive, post hospitalization, and they are unable to work for months on end or are saddled with collections from their medical bills (they will be)? The eviction expense will be yours to bear, if you're even able to evict them, given this circumstance. 

This is business and in business do what's best for you and protect your investment to the fullest. The suggestion by someone above that you "should sell your property" is quite sad and unprofessional, as was the sarcastic statement of "[a]re you going to check the check for measles too." Well, last I studied, measles, was essentially eradicated from the planet, via a little thing called A VACCINE... ...that is, until some really smart people decided to not provide the vaccine to their young children -which you know, worked really well, causing measles outbreaks, amongst those clever ones, to the extent we've not seen in 50 years. 

 Requesting proof of vaccines, in your situation, is obviously warranted and many will gravitate towards your property, as a result -as you all above already know. 

If potential tenants don't like it, they don't have to look at your property. Such requirements exists via thousands of landlords across the country. You're not alone and across the world, this is becoming a fairly common requirement. 

Best of luck. 

About the only thing that @MichaelS has right is the bolded above. It is your property and you should do as you please. You are getting good advice on why your idea is a poor one, but certainly go ahead.

And the Courts have not 'largely agreed' See the recent rulings by 3 separate Federal Judges (from KY, LA, MS) blocking Biden's mandates.

But go for it. You asked for advice and you got it....

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Originally posted by @Bruce Woodruff :
Originally posted by @Michael S.:

There are many angles that are in favor of requiring your tenants to have COVID vaccinations. Many. Your own health is one of them. Do it, if it suits your purposes. You're unlikely to see many of your tenants, on average, suffer from debilitating effects of COVID, should they be vaccinated, as well. Despite the obviously uninformed and questionable experience, beyond forum posting, of the opinions above, this isn't an unreasonable requirement and the courts have largely agreed, and where they haven't it's quite clear from the tone of the rulings, that they soon shall. 

What does this do to your bottom line, as a landlord? Well, should one of the non-vaccinated wise-ones decide to come down with COVID (decide is the correct word, since the decision to not contract it, via the vaccine, was also made), how will they pay their rent? What if they are hospitalized for weeks? What if they then survive, post hospitalization, and they are unable to work for months on end or are saddled with collections from their medical bills (they will be)? The eviction expense will be yours to bear, if you're even able to evict them, given this circumstance. 

This is business and in business do what's best for you and protect your investment to the fullest. The suggestion by someone above that you "should sell your property" is quite sad and unprofessional, as was the sarcastic statement of "[a]re you going to check the check for measles too." Well, last I studied, measles, was essentially eradicated from the planet, via a little thing called A VACCINE... ...that is, until some really smart people decided to not provide the vaccine to their young children -which you know, worked really well, causing measles outbreaks, amongst those clever ones, to the extent we've not seen in 50 years. 

 Requesting proof of vaccines, in your situation, is obviously warranted and many will gravitate towards your property, as a result -as you all above already know. 

If potential tenants don't like it, they don't have to look at your property. Such requirements exists via thousands of landlords across the country. You're not alone and across the world, this is becoming a fairly common requirement. 

Best of luck. 

About the only thing that @MichaelS has right is the bolded above. It is your property and you should do as you please. You are getting good advice on why your idea is a poor one, but certainly go ahead.

And the Courts have not 'largely agreed' See the recent rulings by 3 separate Federal Judges (from KY, LA, MS) blocking Biden's mandates.

But go for it. You asked for advice and you got it....

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OHSA does not apply to residential property owners Bruce. I don't know where I learned this... It was probably in my former investment experience... that pesky $90k I spent on those awful law school classes... what a tragic waste of time... 

...you know... unless they then allowed me to properly analyze rulings, understand the legal process, and be able to say with near 100% certainly, that the mandates you're clearly referring to, shall be federal law soon enough. 

As for this discussion, it's off topic. 


The question is: are there benefits to this person requiring vaccines from her tenants. Clearly, there are benefits. 

Enjoy your weekend. 

Originally posted by @Michael S.:
OHSA does not apply to residential property owners Bruce. I don't know where I learned this... It was probably in my former investment experience... that pesky $90k I spent on those awful law school classes... what a tragic waste of time... 

The question is: are there benefits to this person requiring vaccines from her tenants. Clearly, there are benefits. 

It probably was a waste, sorry for your loss.

And I agree, there are certain benefits to her requiring benefits. And there are drawbacks as well. That's why she should do what she wants with her property.

Freedom of Choice. Just remember there are many reasons why people do not get the vaccine. Plus people are still getting covid whether you are vaccinated or not.  You are now alienating / discriminating against a group. May end up in a law suit. Plus a lot of people are not vaccinated, thats a smaller pool of people to rent from.

@Kyle Smith

I was also wondering if it would be considered discrimination? Also there’s HIPA laws, so your personal health is private, what if someone says they won’t tell you whether they’re vaccinated or not?

My dad was vaccinated and he still got covid, wasn’t that bad for him though.

Isnt HIPA about medical folks not disclosing your info??  not about LLs asking for proof of vaccine..  

I think that if the LL wats to require applicants be vaccinated there will be a solid pool of folks that will *happily* apply and feel safer knowing everyone living in the building is vaxxed. 

I say try it (run it by your atty first) and see how it goes....  heck something like 70% of my state are vaxxed so here it would be a no brainer. :) 

@Suzanne Lord

Heck no!

The thing to do, is to make sure the sick is restricted from areas others will occupy until the owner is not contagious or sickly.

If you are sickly, the vaccination of other people doesn't help you get unsickly.

Only the metabolically ill are at high risk for the flu we seem to be so panicked about.

@Kyle Smith she can discriminate all she wants unless it is against a protected class.  The unvaccinated are not a protected class. Now I agree she is obviously going to alienate some people and decrease her rental pool.   

Regarding the point about tenants with issues and hospitalizations due to covid consider that any of your tenants can get sick or injured at any time. Diabetics and old people get hospitalized all the time. There is nothing unique about a covid illness that poses a greater risk of not paying rent then any other illness. Do you not rent to motorcyclists because they get more serious injuries when they crash then those who drive cars? 

I really wish though that people wouldn't make this a vaccine debate (is it or is it not effective, should you get it or not) because newsflash you aren't going to change anyones mind.