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New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Asks Public to Report Sexual Harassment in Housing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Concord - U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, loan officer or anyone with control over housing to report that conduct to the Department of Justice. The request is part of an enhanced effort by the Department of Justice to combat predatory housing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the ability of many people to pay rent on time and has increased housing insecurity. People who are out of work may be targeted for attempted sexual exploitation by housing providers. The Department of Justice has heard reports of housing providers trying to take advantage of the crisis by demanding sexual favors and other unwelcomed sexual conduct from tenants. Sexual harassment in housing is illegal, and the Department of Justice stands ready to investigate such allegations and pursue enforcement actions where appropriate.

“It is simply outrageous that a tenant would be subjected to sexual harassment while attempting to cope with paying the rent on time,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Predatory practices directed at people who are struggling to maintain their homes will not be tolerated. Landlords or others in control of housing should be working with tenants to address housing insecurity in this very difficult time. Those who are striving to assist the financially disadvantaged should be commended. Those who seek to sexually harass and exploit tenants are violating the law and will be held accountable for their conduct.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire will work closely with federal, state, and local partners to identify incidents of sexual harassment in housing.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. 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.

Launched in 2017, the Initiative has filed lawsuits across the county alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing and recovered millions of dollars in damages for harassment victims. The Justice Department’s investigations frequently uncover sexual harassment that has been ongoing for years. Many individuals do not know that being sexually harassed by a housing provider can violate federal law or that the Department of Justice may be able to help.

The Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Act.

The Department encourages anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, to contact the Civil Rights Division by calling (844) 380-6178 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Individuals may also file a complaint alleging harassment or discrimination in housing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development through HUD’s website or by calling (800) 669-9777.