Sexual Harassment Complaint Filed Against NJ Property Owner

Department of Justice Files Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Owner of Rental Property in New Jersey | August 5, 2020


“No one should ever be forced to provide sexual favors, or otherwise endure sexual harassment, as a condition to keep or obtain housing,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. “Sexual harassment in housing is illegal under the Fair Housing Act, and we will vigorously enforce this federal law to end this depraved type of behavior.”

“The Fair Housing Act protects the right of all persons in our nation to rent a home without suffering sexual exploitation at the hands of abusive landlords. Demanding sexual favors from tenants, especially those who are financially vulnerable, is illegal,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from sexual harassment and retaliation by their landlords, and the Justice Department will hold accountable those who engage in such cruel, depraved, and illegal conduct and will work tirelessly to obtain relief for their victims.”

Read the full article here.

National Housing Law Project: Tenant Resources During a Pandemic

NHLP

The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) has assembled a list of tools and resources for homeowners, tenants, and advocates seeking to preserve housing stability and protect civil rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic and economic crisis.

Visit NHLP’s current campaign information here


Protecting Renter and Homeowner Rights During Our National Health Crisis

The National Housing Law Project has put together the following resources for attorneys, advocates, policymakers, and others for assistance during the COVID-19 national public health crisis.  We will continue to update this with NHLP resources and other resources as they become available. Please email us with any additional resources to post.

 

Sexual Harassment In Housing Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 4, 2020

DOJ Increases Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing During COVID-19 Pandemic

BOISE – U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted the ability of many people to pay rent on time and has increased housing insecurity. The Department of Justice has heard reports of housing providers trying to exploit the crisis to sexually harass tenants. Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, and the Department of Justice stands ready to investigate such allegations and pursue enforcement actions where appropriate.

“While most landlords respond with understanding and care, trying to work with their tenants to weather the crisis, there are national reports of other landlords who have demanded sexual favors to defer rent payments. Although unaware of any reports locally, I emphasize this behavior will not be tolerated at any time, especially now,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “The Department of Justice has not hesitated to intervene when clear misconduct occurs.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho will work closely with state and local partners to identify incidents of sexual harassment in housing.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. The goal of the Initiative is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing.

Launched in 2017, the Initiative has filed lawsuits across the county alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing and recovered millions of dollars in damages for harassment victims. The Justice Department’s investigations frequently uncover sexual harassment that has been ongoing for years. Many individuals do not know that being sexually harassed by a housing provider can violate federal law or that the Department of Justice may be able to help.

The Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Act.

The Department encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, to contact the Civil Rights Division by calling (844) 380-6178 or emailing .

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho by calling (208) 334-1211 or emailing .

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Forum partners welcome HUD training

Boise City Council member Lisa Sanchez welcomed a roomful of housing providers, city and state staff, and local nonprofits on April 26 to a fair housing workshop presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Attendance was estimated at well over 200, with in-person and individuals watching via webcast throughout Idaho. This is the last workshop during April, where many different groups recognized the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act.


Featured presenter: HUD’s Kristina Miller, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

HUD’s Deputy Northwest Regional Administrator Michael Look kicked off the day by thanking attendees for their time and interest before outlining the history and meaning of the Fair Housing Act, its roots in the U.S. Constitution, and acknowledging those who made it possible. He introduced HUD’s last remaining Idaho field office representative, Senior Management Analyst Brian Dale

HUD reps Kristina Miller, Brian Dale, and Michael Look

Mr. Look emphasized that the economic opportunities made possible through housing choice and mobility go beyond the typical civil rights focus of fair housing. Where we live determines our access to essential community services, social capital and basic amenities. He acknowledged the rights and challenges of housing providers, and his hope that through ongoing training and greater awareness, they could all take steps to avoid violations and associated costs.*

Kristina Miller with the Seattle Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity conducted the day’s training, starting with an overview of fair housing basics, protected classes, prohibited actions , disparate impact and the three-step analysis of policies or practices to determine compliance. She also outlined seven fair housing design and construction standards, and the importance of accommodating our aging population—which applies to everyone.

The main point of fair housing is ‘equal access’ for all.

She also touched on recent HUD guidance on criminal history; that is, if the property involved is covered under the Fair Housing Act, they must maintain and follow a clear criminal background policy that otherwise treats all protected classes the same consideration. A *three-step analysis determines whether a policy has discriminatory effect:

  1. Does the policy result in a discriminatory effect on members of a protected class?
  2. Does the policy achieve a specific, legitimate nondisriminatory interest to the provider?
  3. If yes to #2, is there a less discriminatory alternative to achieve the same effect?

Unjustifiable policies

  • A blanket ban on criminal activity or an arrest record; unless there is a conviction, anyone could be banned without legitimate cause, thus it would be unjustifiable.
  • A blanket ban on all convictions that fails to differentiate between a legitimate threat to life, safety or property or no threat may also be unjustifiable.

View or download the presentation as a .pdf — Fair-Housing-Act-for-4-26-18-presentations

Check back for links to the webcast version.

Everyone wants a bag like Brian’s vintage FHF tote! We’ll get some made and let you how to get yours.