You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office Joins Department of Justice To Target COVID-19 Related Housing Predatory Practices

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn has announced that the District of Colorado, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, will take legal action against anyone trying to capitalize on the current COVID-19 crisis by sexually harassing those in need of housing or struggling financially to stay in rental housing.  U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will work with all Department of Justice offices, federal agencies, as well as state, local, and tribal officials to combat housing related sexual harassment. The Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys stand ready to take aggressive action against housing-related sexual harassment whenever and wherever it occurs.

“The Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to assisting victims of harassment and will work with law enforcement to ensure reports of landlord predatory practices related to COVID-19 will be aggressively investigated,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Those who target tenants, especially during this national crisis, will not be tolerated and violators are prosecuted.”

"The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated." said Attorney General Barr.  To address predatory practices by unscrupulous landlords, Attorney General Barr directed the Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s to coordinate efforts to devote all necessary resources to investigate reports of housing-related sexual harassment resulting from the current crisis.

As the country adopted drastic measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, Americans have lost jobs with many more having their wages curtailed.  These losses have forced many to seek abatements or suspensions of their rent.  Many landlords responded to these circumstances with understanding by working with tenants during the crisis.  Other landlords, however, have demanded sexual favors and other acts of unwelcomed sexual conduct in exchange for deferral of rent payments. This behavior is horrific and illegal.

Anyone who is a victim of sexual harassment by a property owner, or someone who has control over housing resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, should contact:

For more information:  www.justice.gov/crt/sexual-harassment-housing-initiative

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax
Updated April 29, 2020