If you are sexually harassed...
It is illegal for a landlord or his/her agent to ask for or require sexual favors in exchange for the rental of an apartment, lease renewal, repairs, or any other condition or privilege of renting.
Sexual harassment can range from the landlord or agent (superintendent, maintenance worker, rental manager, etc.) making sexual comments to actually physically assaulting you.
How to recognize sexual harassment
Sexual harassment takes many forms. The landlord may be direct or demand that you sleep with him/her to rent the apartment or get repairs made. He/she may enter your apartment without permission and make sexually offensive comments to you or try to touch you. You may hear comments like these:
"Don't worry about the security deposit, we'll make arrangements."
"There's a long waiting list for these apartments, but I can get you in if you're nice to me."
"I made special arrangements to do these repairs for you, I'm sure you know how to thank me."
"I helped you get this apartment. If you don't go out with me, I can get your rent subsidy taken away."
"If you let me take pictures of you you don't have to pay rent."
Even if you have engaged in sexual activity to pay the rent or security deposit or to get repairs made, and you then refuse further demands for sexual contact with the landlord, you may still be a victim of sexual harassment, and be able to file a housing discrimination complaint.
The landlord cannot retaliate against you because you say no or because you report him/her. He/she my try to evict you, refuse to do repairs, raise your rent, or threaten you because you refuse his/her sexual advances. These are violations of the law, and you should report them immediately.
Sexual Harassment Is A Crime
Sexual Harassment is a criminal violation of federal and state law. It is illegal for someone to willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with someone by force or threat of force because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or family status. This includes many forms of sexual harassment.
What to do
You are probably not the only tenant experiencing this harassment. There are things you can do:
- Write down what the landlord or agent said or did to you, the date(s) it happened and the names of any witnesses.
- Report the incident(s) to the owner. If the owner is the person sexually harassing you, write him/her a letter demanding that he/she stop these actions. Keep a copy of the letter.
- If you feel you have be treated unfairly, click here to find out where you can get help..