|HUD No. 20-039
HUD Public Affairs
March 4, 2020
HUD APPROVES FAIR HOUSING AGREEMENT IN BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has approved a Conciliation Agreement requiring Ronoel Romero, Blanca Romero, and Mario Prudencio, the owners and manager of a Bakersfield, California, apartment complex, to pay $14,500 to several female residents to settle allegations of sexual harassment. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for housing providers to sexually harass tenants. This includes creating a severe or pervasive hostile housing environment, or conditioning housing or housing-related services on the tenant's acquiescence to sexual demands.
"A home should be a place of peace and security, not fear and anxiety because of sexual harassment," said Anna Mar├şa Far├şas, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Today's settlement agreement sends a clear message to all property owners and landlords that HUD is committed to taking appropriate action when offenders engage in behavior that violates the Fair Housing Act."
Under the terms of the agreement, the owners will pay the women who filed the complaint $10,000 and attend mandatory fair housing training. The owners will also pay $4,500 to two other aggrieved female residents. In addition, Prudencio will be permanently prohibited from directly or indirectly engaging in or conducting any property management responsibilities.
In April 2018, HUD and the Justice Department launched a nationwide joint initiative aimed at combatting sexual harassment in housing enhancing public education about the issue and encouraging those faced with sexual harassment to report their cases.
Persons who believe they have experienced housing 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). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed online at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.