|HUD No. 19-080
HUD Public Affairs
May 23, 2019
HUD APPROVES SETTLEMENT INVOLVING MINNEAPOLIS LANDLORD ACCUSED OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
Landlord will pay $30,000 to female tenant settling sexual harassment claims
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved an agreement between a Minneapolis property owner and a female tenant who alleged the landlord solicited sex from her in exchange for a reduction in her rent. Read the Voluntary Compliance/Conciliation Agreement.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits sexual harassment of tenants and other forms of harassment and housing discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion and familial status.
“Being asked to submit to unwelcome sexual advances not only creates a hostile living environment, it’s against the law,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s settlement demonstrates HUD’s commitment to ensuring that landlords and other housing providers recognize their obligations under the Fair Housing Act and take steps to comply with those obligations.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when a woman filed a complaint with HUD alleging that her landlord, David Sheets, sexually harassed her while she was living in one of his apartments. Specifically, the woman alleged that on numerous occasions during her tenancy, the landlord requested sex from her in exchange for a reduction in her rent.
Under the terms of the agreement, the landlord, who denied the allegations, will pay $30,000 to the woman and $7,000 to her attorney. The agreement also requires that the landlord contract with a licensed, independent third-party real estate management company to manage all of his residential properties for the next five years.
Last month, HUD launched a special campaign and training initiative designed to inform renters, landlords, property managers, maintenance workers and others that sexual harassment in housing violates the Fair Housing Act. In addition, in April 2018, HUD and DOJ launched a joint nationwide initiative that seeks to combat sexual harassment in housing by increasing the public’s awareness of the issue and encouraging the reporting of harassment. Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).