You can’t consume any form of news without hearing a tale of sexual harassment. From teachers to government officials, countless individuals in the United States and beyond have been caused pain and suffering at the hands of sexual deviants.
According to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in his or her lifetime. Sexual harassment is a very real, very common issue in the United States – it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Most of the time, it’s the people we know and trust the most that become the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
It’s no surprise that landlord harassment is not uncommon. And while there are no national statistics kept that quantify the amount of “sexual harassment in housing” cases there are, that doesn’t mean these situations don’t occur. These types of cases include every kind of landlord misbehavior from lewd comments to stalking, entering homes while the victim is unaware, extorting renters for sexual favors, sexual assault, and in the worst cases, rape.
How can I tell if my landlord is harassing me?
If you find yourself in these situations, your landlord is sexually harassing you;
- You owe your rent, but your landlord says you won’t have to pay if you sleep with him/her.
- The landlord/property manager makes sexual comments about your appearance.
- Your landlord places his/her hands on you in places they shouldn’t or without your permission.
- Your landlord tries to evict you because you won’t obey their sexual commands (take off your clothes, sleep with them, etc.)
These are only a few of the countless examples of sexual harassment. Regardless of your age, sex, or gender, if you are a renter who has been sexually harassed by your landlord, here’s what you can do:
- Under state and federal laws, it is illegal for landlords or their employees to sexually harass their tenants. You are protected by “fair housing laws.” Contact a legal aid attorney or fair housing agency right away. They can help explain your rights and options. If you fear that the harasser may harm you or your family, call the police immediately.
- When you talk to an attorney or the police, make sure to tell them exactly what happened, including when and where it happened, who harassed you, and the names and contact information of any witnesses or others who have been harassed by this same person. If your harasser has given you any notes, gifts, rent increase notices, warnings, or eviction notices, these will be helpful in presenting your case.
- Know that it is illegal for you to be evicted or for your rent to be raised for reporting any kind of harassment. If you receive any kind of notice in this situation, call a legal aid office immediately.
- Have your case investigated or file a complaint with government agencies. You can also sue your harasser in court. A legal housing aid will be able to advise you on the option that’s best for your case.
If your landlord is sexually harassing you, you aren’t alone. Most often, sexual deviants have more than one victim that they prey on. Speak up! Follow these steps to take action and regain control of your life once more. Who knows – you could be helping someone else in the exact same situation.
No matter what your situation, knowing your rights is the first step on the road to justice. In a situation where you feel like you are in danger, it’s best to know all of your options. Stay tuned to Whose Your Landlord for more information on your rights as a renter. If you have questions or concerns, or maybe something to add, drop us a line below. We’d love to hear from you!