The COVID-19 vaccination process has begun a transition towards normalcy for many across the nation. However, with the production and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, comes the question of when workers will be able to return to physical office spaces—whether part-time or full-time. Commercial landlords, in particular, are concerned with just how long this transition will take, as they continue to grapple with the long-term effects of delayed and unpaid rent by tenants.
Hard Hit Landlords Await Widespread COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
As the vaccinated percentage of the population increase, landlords and building managers, alike, anxiously await the time when office spaces are no longer vacant. However, balancing the safety and security policies of many different businesses will be a massive undertaking for landlords. The return to an on-site work environment will likely present nuanced challenges for property owners.
The effects of the pandemic have hit landlords especially hard, making them among the most desperate to fill the now largely vacant office spaces. According to the Back to Work Barometer, a market tracker of workplace activity, occupancy in the top-10 U.S. markets peaked at just 29% in 2020. Efforts to transition back to on-site work have been curtailed due to new strains and surges of coronavirus.
However, nearly 60% of U.S. employees expect to be back at work in a physical office space with hybrid work schedules by the end of March. This estimate comes just after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that businesses can mandate COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of returning to in-person work—a move that arguably suggests landlords may be asked to help enforce strict office access policies for in-person work.
COVID-19 Vaccine Enforcement in the Workplace
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hasn’t released any specifics on how workplaces should handle the transition, the bulk of office workers will likely be waiting longer to return to fully in-person work due to vaccine prioritization. Landlords will have to determine how to enforce vaccination concerning tenants and visitors.
In some cases, both tenants and building owners may add vaccination status to worker ID badges to access certain parts of office buildings or spaces. As more workers receive vaccinations, landlords and property managers will need to collaborate with tenants to establish what will be the necessary policies for vaccination, mask-wearing, and social distancing measures.
Assisting Commercial Landlords in Texas
As landlords begin to navigate the safe return of office-based tenants back into an in-person working environment, many are still struggling with tenants failing to make timely and full rent payments. At Raizner Law, our team of attorneys has years of experience successfully representing commercial landlords in Texas and beyond. If you are a commercial landlord that is struggling with a large national tenant delaying or refusing to make rent payments at your expense, contact us today to see how we can best assist you.