This question is from a tenant (paraphrased to suit this format):
I rent from my grandparents who also live at the property. My grandfather has uninvited me to Christmas unless I am fully vaccinated by then. I am worried this will ultimately end with me being kicked out of my home because of our opposing views about the COVID vaccine. Can my tenancy agreement be terminated on this basis?
A few issues to unpack here:
Residential tenancy or flat-sharing?
Given that your grandparents also live at the property, yours is a flat sharing agreement, not a residential tenancy agreement. Even if it is a residential tenancy, it is an excluded activity under s5 of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Either way, the Tenancy Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to support an application to terminate. It is also important to recognise that there is nothing in the RTA that provides for termination due to vaccine disagreement.
Can the flat-sharing agreement be terminated?
We can’t speak to the particulars of the flat-sharing agreement though it is unlikely there would be a clause in there supporting termination on the basis of a flatmate’s vaccination status. Termination per the terms of the agreement can still take place (even if the stated reason is ultimately a proxy for vaccine disagreement). Any disputes stemming from a termination should be referred to the Dispute Tribunal.
The mental health and wellbeing of everyone in this family
Our main concern, from reading your question, is that of your well-being. In the current environment, as it is, the issue of COVID vaccination can easily trigger and divide. However, having that divisiveness play out within the family can be incredibly stressful. As much as possible, we recommend this tenant consider alternative accommodation arrangements. We recommend that she reaches out to the various community, mental health and possibly social housing agencies for an understanding of what viable options are there for her to explore. A suggested, and by no means exclusive, list of organisations:
Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at [email protected] or hit us up on our social channels here and here.