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HUD Charges Kansas Property Owners With Fair Housing Violations

November 17, 2017

HUD Charges Kansas Property Owners With Fair Housing Violations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging a Kansas landlord with Fair Housing Act violations after allegations of sexual harassment. According to a press release on the HUD official site, the agency “announced today it is charging the owner and landlord of several rental properties in Wichita, Kansas, and his wife, who co-owned one of the properties, with housing discrimination after the landlord allegedly sexually harassed two female tenants at his properties. HUD’s charge further alleges that he also made discriminatory statements based on one of the women’s race”.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits a wide range of discriminatory practices in housing including sexual harassment. According to the HUD official site, it is a violation of Fair Housing laws to “discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination.”

“Landlords who use their position to intimidate or harass residents or to attempt to trade sexual favors for rent violate the sanctity of a woman’s home, the place where she should feel the safest,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the HUD press release.

She adds, “HUD is committed to protecting the housing rights of those who are sexually harassed and will continue to take action any time housing providers violate those rights.”

Many times, the victim of the discrimination is the only person with the power to prevent further issues-HUD cannot investigate claims that are never filed, and the victims in this particular case stepped forward to report the discrimination. HUD may never have known about these incidents otherwise.

According to the press release, “The charge is the result of complaints filed by two female residents alleging that the landlord made unwanted sexual advances toward them, harassed them, made derogatory statements based on race, and evicted them because they refused his advances.”

The case will be brought before an administrative law judge, who will hear the facts and make a determination. According to the HUD official site, “If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to the complainants for their loss as a result of the 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 civil penalties in order to vindicate the public interest.”

What does all this have to do with FHA home loans? Potential borrowers who use rental housing have their entire journey toward home ownership tainted by such discrimination where it occurs. Reporting and stopping such violations of federal law is important to prevent needless delays and problems where housing is concerned.

All renters and borrowers, regardless of desire to buy a home, are protected under Fair Housing laws. If you feel your Fair Housing Act rights have been violated, report the problem by calling the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777.

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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