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Can I ask tenant applicants if they are vaccinated?

This question is from Brian (paraphrased to suit this format):

Can I ask prospective tenants whether they are vaccinated or intend to be vaccinated by the start of the tenancy?

No. Not unless you can demonstrate that there is a legitimate connection between a tenant applicant’s vaccination status and the lawful purpose of your information collection (which is to help you determine the best applicant on merit to rent to). We can’t think of any (though we are not ruling out the possibility that there could be any, and advise landlords to tackle the issue on a case-by-case basis).

Even if you want to make the argument that a person’s vaccination status/stance is somewhat connected to their employment/steadiness of income and therefore their likely ability to afford the rent, that right to inquire rests on the applicant’s employer, not you, her maybe-would-be landlord.

Additionally, collecting that information could leave you vulnerable to an s12 (unlawful act) claim by an unsuccessful tenant applicant. All in all, why would you?

Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at [email protected] or hit us up on our social channels here and here.

4 Comments

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  • Generally, a worker does not need to disclose (or prove) their vaccination status to a business. If certain work cannot be done by an unvaccinated worker, a business can ask a worker about the worker’s vaccination status.

    • Our point exactly, MBIE guidance is very clear, if the nature of the work requires vaccination then the business can ask about a worker’s vaccination status but the worker is not obligated to disclose. Business owners can arrange their workforce accordingly. That information exchange takes place in the employment space, not the tenancy space.

  • This is stupid. I want to let a warm, dry apartment on my property but only to someone who is vaccinated because I will probably walk past them often. This is a scary virus and I don’t want to be anywhere near unvaccinated people.

    • Tenants have exclusive possession of your property, why would you be walking past them often? For your own health and safety and peace of mind, we suggest you make sure you are vaccinated, social distance, mask up and practise good hygiene when you interact with your tenants. That is exactly what maintenance and repair contractors are doing to keep their teams safe instead of insisting on property occupants to be vaccinated.

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