ATLANTA (CBS46)– The U.S. Attorney’s office sent a warning to landlords who are trying to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic with their tenants.

During the month of April, the U.S. Attorney’s office reported nearly one third of Americans were not able to pay their rent at the beginning of the month.

There have been several reports of landlords trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic by sexually harassing people in need of house, a press release stated.

“Many landlords responded to these circumstances with understanding and care, trying to work with their tenants to weather the current crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, there have been reports of landlords who have responded to requests to defer rent payments with demands for sexual favors and other acts of unwelcome sexual conduct. Such behavior is despicable, and illegal.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office reported sexual harassment in housing includes:

  • Demands for sex or sexual acts in order to buy, rent, or continue renting a home.
  • Unwelcome sexual conduct that makes it hard to keep living in or feel comfortable in your home.

The U.S. Attorney’s office Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is handling sexual harassment in housing complaints.

The goal of the Initiative is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers, or other people who have control over housing.

To report sexual harassment in housing to the DOJ, we have a toll-free phone number (1-844-380-6178), as well as an email address fairhousing@usdoj.gov

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