Sexual Harassment From Landlord or Property Manager
Sexual harassment is a widespread problem throughout the US. It is a very real issue that significantly impacts the lives of thousands of victims. Sexual harassment is most common in relationships that involve an imbalance of power, such as an employer and an employee. Another frequent scenario is sexual harassment between a landlord and a tenant. If sexual harassment or discrimination in the housing sector has impacted you, do not hesitate to contact the California sexual harassment attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free consultation.
Sexual Harassment in Housing
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces the laws in California that make it illegal to discriminate against or harass a person because of a protected category. Protected categories include sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy, race, ethnicity, origin and religion. California’s fair housing laws apply to many parties within the housing sector, including landlords, sellers, builders, real estate agents, property managers and mortgage lenders.
What Is Sexual Harassment by a Landlord or Property Manager?
The definition of sexual harassment is to commit any unwelcome, unwanted or nonconsensual act of a sexual nature against a person. This can include physical, verbal or visual forms of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment by a landlord or property manager specifically describes these crimes when committed by a landowner, landlord or leasing company against an applicant, tenant or renter. Landlord sexual harassment occurs in the housing sector when someone in a position of power takes advantage of a tenant. Most cases of landlord sexual harassment involve men as the landlords and women as the tenants; however, both parties involved could be either sex.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo is a common type of sexual harassment in realty. It refers to “this in exchange for that” sexual harassment. It describes a landlord offering to exchange something in return for sexual favors or demands. For example, if a landlord promises to choose an applicant for a rental if that applicant agrees to go on a date with him or her, this is quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment
Many landlord sexual harassment claims require the victim (plaintiff) to demonstrate that the action or misconduct in question created a hostile environment. A hostile environment is one in which the tenant does not feel reasonably safe or welcome. Hostility, offensiveness or intimidation from a landlord that negatively impacts the tenant’s wellbeing is a hostile living environment. To meet the definition of sexual harassment, the action or behavior in question must be severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile living environment for the tenant.
Examples of Landlord Sexual Harassment
Landlord sexual harassment can take many forms. A common example is physical assault during house showings. There are many opportunities for a landlord to be alone with an applicant or tenant, including during private home showings, open houses or maintenance visits. These situations can put the tenant at risk of sexual harassment, assault or abuse by the landlord. Landlord sexual harassment does not only involve physical assaults, however.
- Unwelcome sexual advances or physical touching
- Physical assault or abuse
- Unsolicited visual or verbal sexual contact
- Comments or remarks of a sexual nature
- Requests for dates or sexual favors
- Unwanted attention
- Property manager sexual misconduct
- Extorting renters for sexual favors
- Entering a home without the renter’s knowledge
- Discriminating against an applicant based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity
- Retaliating against a renter for complaining about harassment or discrimination
If a landlord makes any housing decisions based on a protected category, that landlord is guilty of discrimination. It is against the law for a landlord to base the selling or leasing of a place, its price, its availability dates, the details of a loan, leasing terms or conditions, housing rules, and any other details on a person’s sex or gender. If you believe you have experienced any type of sexual harassment or discrimination by a landlord in California, speak to an attorney from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.
Landlord Retaliation in California
Landlord retaliation occurs when a landlord or property manager punishes a tenant for exercising his or her legal rights. For example, if you report your landlord to the authorities for unwelcome sexual advances and he or she gives you an eviction notice shortly after, you might be the victim of landlord retaliation. It is against the law for a landlord to retaliate against you for reporting harassment or otherwise exercising your rights.
Filing a Lawsuit for Sexual Harassment by a Landlord
If you do not feel safe in your home or apartment because of the actions of your landlord or property manager, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against him or her for sexual harassment. The first step in filing your suit is to contact an attorney. An attorney from our law firm can offer tailored legal advice to guide you through the claims process while protecting your rights.
With help from your lawyer, you can issue a complaint against your landlord with the California DFEH. The DFEH will investigate and attempt to resolve your dispute with your landlord. The DFEH could also decide to take legal action against your landlord on your behalf. Your lawyer may then file a civil sexual harassment claim against the landlord or property manager in pursuit of compensation for your damages.
Damages in Landlord Sexual Harassment Cases
Damages refer to types of compensation you could receive in a successful civil claim against your landlord for sexual harassment. If the courts rule in your favor during a lawsuit in California, you could receive a verdict to cover your harassment-related legal expenses, medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. Your lawyer may also be able to negotiate for fair compensation through an insurance settlement in California without the need to go to court.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Sexual Harassment Lawyer
No tenant has to withstand sexual harassment from a landlord, property manager or others in the housing sector. State and federal laws protect your right to freedom from sexual harassment and discrimination. If someone has infringed upon this right, leading to damages such as personal injuries, emotional distress, economic losses or disadvantages, contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free confidential consultation right away. Our landlord sexual harassment attorneys may be able to help you demand justice and compensation.