|HUD No. 22-048
HUD Public Affairs
March 18, 2022
HUD Charges St. Louis Area Landlord with Sexually Harassing Female Tenant
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday, March 18, 2022, charged Nedzad Ukejnovic, the owner of multiple single-family residences in the St. Louis Metropolitan area of Missouri, with discrimination for allegedly subjecting a female tenant to sexual harassment, including requests for sexual favors in exchange for reduced rent, and discriminatory statements based on sex. Read HUD charge.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits sexual harassment of tenants and other forms of housing discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion and familial status.
"No one should have to submit to unwelcome sexual advances or tolerate sexual harassment to keep their home, a place where a person should feel safest," said Demetria L. McCain, HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Today's charge sends a clear message to all landlords that HUD is committed to taking action against landlords whose behavior violates the Fair Housing Act."
"The intolerable and deplorable conduct alleged in this case constitutes sexual harassment that violates the Fair Housing Act," said Damon Smith, HUD's General Counsel. "HUD is steadfastly committed to protecting the rights of tenants to be free from such harassment by their landlords."
HUD's charge, issued on behalf of the tenant, her children and the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, a HUD Fair Housing Initiative partner, alleges that Ukejnovic made repeated unwelcome sexual advances toward the tenant and pressured her to provide sexual favors and explicit photos of herself when she fell behind on rent payments. The charge further alleges Ukejnovic’s actions included grabbing the tenant’s body without permission, pressing his body against hers, offering to accept sexual favors in lieu of rent, making unwanted sexual comments, and sending lewd and inappropriate texts to her. The tenant and her children moved out after enduring months of sexual harassment from Ukejnovic.
HUD's charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainant for harm caused by discrimination. The judge may also order injunctive relief and other equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose fines to vindicate the public interest. If the matter is decided in federal court, the judge may also award punitive damages.
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).