Could Property Managers Require Vaccines at Apartment Communities? It’s Complicated

Would you require your staff or residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Could you?
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

When I was little, I would worry for weeks before I had a doctor’s appointment.

The worst was when it was time for the actual appointment. For everyone, right? The nurse would lead you into a brightly lit room, and you’d have to sit precariously on a high table on top of crinkly paper.

Waiting.

Was there going to be a shot? There was definitely going to be a shot. It was terrifying!

Oh, how times have changed.

In the United States, the COVID vaccine rollout is underway. Every state is different and has different requirements to get the vaccine. Signing up is frustrating and confusing. But hopefully as more vaccines are released more and more people will be able to get one. In fact, it is projected that the US will have enough vaccines for all adults in the county by the end of May.

But will everyone get them? 

It doesn’t look like it. According to Vox, a third of adult Americans are saying they are hesitant or won’t get one.

So, then, going forward, when there are more vaccines available and anyone who wants one can get one, can property managers require on-site employees and residents to receive them? After all, schools have required students to be fully vaccinated to attend class (barring religious or other exemptions). What about with COVID-19?

Well, it’s complicated. 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

In terms of employees, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, if you do require it, you have to be open to “make reasonable accommodations under federal and state law” for those who have concerns about the vaccine.

Of course it’s also important to make sure you’re following the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, which protects against religious discrimination.

And that’s just for employees. What about residents? That’s where it gets really messy. Would requiring it violate people’s rights? Would it violate HIPAA? Would it just ensure a safe place to live for the other residents? Will there be federal or state mandates? Turns out, no one knows yet

Encouraging Vaccinations at Your Properties

Everyone wants to be safe and healthy. But some people also work crazy hours or don’t have transportation. So if you are going to require your multifamily staff and the residents to be vaccinated (if you can), make it easy for them.

Consider setting up a vaccination center for your employees and/or residents, either at the community (maybe in a common area, such as a lounge) or offsite but nearby. This is even recommended by the CDC! That could certainly be an amenity that sets you apart from other communities.

For more information about COVID and multifamily, check out the COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative, which is sponsored by Yardi.

What are your thoughts on requiring staff and/or residents to get the COVID vaccine? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur