WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today charged Chad David Ables, the owner of a mobile home park in Lexington, TN, with discrimination for allegedly pressuring two female tenants, a same-sex couple, to perform sexual favors for him instead of paying rent. Read HUD’s 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 unwelcomed sexual advances as a condition for remaining in their home,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s 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 violate the Fair Housing Act.”
HUD’s charge alleges that Ables showed the female complainants sexually explicit pictures and videos of women he identified as tenants, boasted that he had engaged in sexual acts with multiple female tenants, and asked the complainants to give him nude photos or videos in exchange for rent. HUD’s charge further alleges that the owner disconnected the water to the complainants’ unit after they rebuffed his advances.
The couple and their children eventually moved out after the owner accused them of paying their rent late and issued them a notice to vacate the property.
“Subjecting female tenants to sexual harassment is illegal, and HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act against property owners who engage in such misconduct,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “HUD is steadfastly committed to protecting the right of tenants to be free from sexual or other discriminatory harassment by their landlords.”
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.
In July, HUD and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness of housing-related sexual harassment The goal of this campaign is to make it easier for victims all over the country to find resources and report harassment. Watch the public service announcement (PSA). HUD and DOJ are also providing training materials on preventing and addressing harassment in housing to public housing staff, private landlords who accept housing vouchers, and residents of public housing and voucher housing.
Last April, HUD marked the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, joining local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country in a coordinated campaign to enhance awareness of fair housing rights.
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).