I will get back to how the pandemic is impacting the professional apartment management industry in my next post, but I wanted to note that at the end of March, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it settled a fair housing discrimination action from California in which allegations of sexual misconduct were raised against the owner and manager of a property for a total of $63,000. The settlement also involved concluding three other matters with related claims.

The proceeding started when two women and a local fair housing agency brought complaints asserting that the community’s property manager sexually harassed residents of an apartment building. Although the building owners and the individual property manager denied the allegations, they agreed to resolve the complaints pursuant to written agreements.

Pursuant to the terms of the settlements, the owners will pay $14,000 to the fair housing group in addition to paying $49,000 to the individuals who filed complaints with HUD. In addition to the financial component, the settlement requires the property manager to be removed from any role in which he interacts with or makes decisions involving residents of the property.

Although this matter started well before the current public health crisis, with a higher percentage of residents now unable to pay their monthly rent, I anticipate there will be an increase in sexual harassment fair housing complaints asserting that someone in property management attempted to use economic hardship from the pandemic to attempt to leverage some type of sexual favor in return for overlooking missed or late rent. Might be worth a quick training reminder.

Just A Thought.