Landlord fined big time for sexual harassment of tenant

By Jennifer Felten

The court has held that a landlord’s sexual harassment of a tenant effectively denied the tenant housing in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The tenant had leased a bedroom in the landlord’s three bedroom apartment for a year. Within a week of the tenancy the landlord had sent numerous sexually suggestive emails to the tenant and made advances in person, physically touching the tenant. As a result of this harassment the tenant vacated the unit after only one month of tenancy.

Thereafter, this case was filed against the landlord. The landlord filed a cross-complaint alleging breach of contract against the tenant for moving out before the end of the lease term. Holding that the landlord’s harassment amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex, the court awarded the tenant money damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and ordered the landlord to prominently post the judgment at the rental unit.

Jennifer Felten, Esq., Partnerfelton, LLP, www.hhlawgroup.com, 699 Hampshire Road, Suite 105, Westlake Village, CA 91361, (805) 265-1031, [email protected].  Ms. Felten specializes in representing both individuals and legal entities, providing representation and guidance on a variety of real estate related matters.

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