With COVID-19 vaccines available to most people now, homeowners’ associations may wonder if they can or should require members, residents, or guests to get vaccinated. There are many aspects of this issue to consider. Your clients may not have the authority to implement a policy like this. HOA insurance covers many liabilities, but can community association directors make rules regarding vaccines?
Making HOA Rules During Pandemic Conditions
Before creating and executing new regulations, HOA board members must understand what authority they have. Your clients can start by reviewing the governing documents for their community organization. Examining the regulatory paperwork will help determine if they can make new rules. They may only have control over certain common area factors. If the board only has limited authority, they cannot require COVID-19 vaccinations.
Enforcing COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Community
It may not be legal for your clients to require and enforce resident vaccinations. It is likely beyond the scope of the board’s powers. Some employers and private schools can require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, but HOAs are not the same type of organization and may not have the legal right to do so.
Requiring vaccinations for residents would entail asking for health information. People have a legal right under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to keep their medical records private. Facilities could set up methods for people living in the community to self-report their vaccine status without sharing personally identifiable information. This system would provide your clients with some data to communicate with residents regarding the neighborhood vaccination rate.
Enforcement, however, would be rather complex as board members cannot require to see HIPAA-protected information, and the vaccine is not available to everyone universally. Liability issues could arise if residents have severe allergic reactions or religious objections to the vaccine. Help your clients address HOA rules during pandemic concerns by advising them about what their HOA insurance does and does not cover.
Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccine Compliance
The best way for your clients to ensure a safe and healthy community during the COVID-19 pandemic is to provide up-to-date information for residents. Sharing current CDC advisories, news, medical recommendations, and vaccine information helps neighborhoods understand the benefits of the vaccines.
Vaccines can be a controversial topic. Your clients may want to avoid making health mandates to maintain a friendly living community. Instead, board members may want to partner with local health officials to set up vaccine clinics in the neighborhood, making it easy for occupants to obtain a vaccine.
The government is not making a COVID-19 vaccine a legal requirement. HOA boards may not have the authority to enforce a vaccine policy. Advise your clients to stay updated from reliable health resources, seek legal advice and communicate regularly with residents. Many people in neighborhood communities may have medical or religious objections to vaccines, resulting in liability concerns for your HOA insurance policyholders.
About Kevin Davis Insurance Services
For over 35 years, Kevin Davis Insurance Services has built an impressive reputation as a strong wholesale broker offering insurance products for the community association industry. Our president Kevin Davis and his team take pride in offering committed services to the community association market and providing them with unparalleled access to high-quality coverage, competitive premiums, superior markets, and detailed customer service. To learn more about the coverage we offer, contact us toll-free at (855)-790-7393 to speak with one of our representatives.