Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced the resolution of a Fair Housing Act (FHA) sex discrimination case for a total of $37,000 pursuant to an agreement brought against a property owner from Minnesota. Allegations included that a male property manager solicited sex multiple times from a female resident in exchange for a reduction in her rent.

While denying the allegations of misconduct, the property manager agreed to pay $30,000 to the resident and $7,000 to the resident’s attorney to conclude the matter. Additionally, for the next five years, the property owner consented to using a licensed, independent third party real estate management firm to manage all of his residential properties.

While I was not involved with this complaint and I always know there are at least two sides to every story, allegations like this – repeated solicitations of sex in return for reduced rent – go to the heart of FHA compliance and will get HUD’s attention. When I am involved in cases which include assertions of sexual misconduct, it is important to do an independent inquiry as promptly as possible to compile facts in a professional and caring manner. Ensure no one is retaliated against because a resident filed a discrimination action. Once the review is complete, I can then be in a better position to advise my clients as to what we think took place and to present a plan to move forward.

Just A Thought.