Landlords Sexually Harassing Tenants Who Cannot Pay Rent
During the current pandemic, there has been a rise in landlord sexual harassment as these individuals are using the increasing unemployment rate to try to get sexual favors from their recently unemployed tenants. For example, when a newly unemployed woman asked her landlord if she could pay her April rent once she had work again, he said she could come over and cuddle with him instead.
About Sexual Harassment
In 2017, close to 13,000 Americans filed sexual harassment complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are different forms of sexual harassment. Sometimes, this creates a hostile work environment when there is severe and ongoing sexually offensive behavior. There are different liability rules. However, federal, state and municipal laws clearly prohibit harassment based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
COVID-19 Landlord Sexual Harassment
Over 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the forced government shutdowns. Nearly one-third of Americans did not pay their April rent within the first five days of the month. As this economic downturn grows, many are taking advantage of people’s misfortune. There have been many complaints all over the country. The Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women already has 10 complaints on file since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from sexual harassment by landlords. Many states also have specific housing laws banning sexual harassment or discrimination. Unfortunately, this isn’t a new problem. However, it is escalating as many find themselves unemployed. Also, these landlords are often repeat offenders as women needing shelter give in out of eviction fears.
Your Rights Against Sexual Harassment
It is important to know what steps to take if a landlord has sexually harassed you. First, under state and federal laws this behavior is illegal. Contacting a knowledgeable attorney like those at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm to help explain your rights is important. If you fear for your safety, call the police immediately. It is important that if you either call an attorney or officer and recount exactly what happened and where it transpired. If you have any messages or notes, it is important to let an attorney or police see these. These could include gifts, rent increase notices, warnings or eviction notices. It is illegal for an eviction to take place after reporting harassment. You can also sue a harasser as well.
Free Landlord Sexual Harassment Consultation
If you have experienced sexual harassment in any form by your landlord, you should contact a qualified employment attorney as soon as possible. If the harassment has not stopped after making a formal complaint with your employer, consulting a harassment lawyer is your best option. Your attorney will be able to provide further guidance and help build a case to end the harassment.