A group of Ohio landlords have agreed to settle a Fair Housing Act lawsuit over sexual harassment of female tenants, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Justice Department said in the release that Toledo, Ohio, landlords Anthony Hubbard, Ann Hubbard, Jeffery Hubbard, PayUp LLC and No Joke Properties Inc. have agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit “alleging that Anthony Hubbard sexually harassed female tenants at rental properties he owned or managed with the other defendants.”
The release says Anthony Hubbard made “unwelcome sexual advances and comments to female tenants; sending them unwanted sexual text messages, videos and photos; offering to reduce or excuse their monthly rental payments, security deposits and utility fees in exchange for sex acts; and entering the homes of female tenants without their consent and without prior notice.”
“The Justice Department will not tolerate landlords who abuse their power by sexually harassing their tenants, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act against landlords who engage in this conduct,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the release.
Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan for the Northern District of Ohio said in the release, “Exploiting any person’s basic housing needs as a way to sexually harass, demean and control them violates the law. We remain committed to rooting out homeowners and landlords who target vulnerable residents seeking safe and affordable housing opportunities for them and their families.”
The settlement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, requires that defendants pay a total of $90,000 to three female tenants who were harmed by Hubbard’s harassment and a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States
Others Liable for Anthony Hubbard’s Actions
The suit also said that Anthony Hubbard carried out some of this sexual harassment while managing properties on behalf of the other defendants — Ann Hubbard, Jeffery Hubbard, PayUp LLC and No Joke Properties Inc. — making them liable for the harassment he carried out while acting as their agent.
The settlement also:
- Prohibits Anthony Hubbard from continuing to manage rental housing;
- Requires Anthony Hubbard to retain an independent property manager to manage any rental properties he owns now or in the future; and
- Requires defendants to receive fair-housing training and implement comprehensive non-discrimination policies and complaint procedures to prevent sexual harassment at their properties in the future.
The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. The goal of the department’s initiative is to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing. Since launching the initiative in October 2017, the Department of Justice has filed 21 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered more than $2.5 million for victims of such harassment.