Justice Department Secures Agreement with Alabama Landlord to Resolve Claims of Sexual Harassment of Female Tenants
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement with Randy Hames, an Alabama landlord who owned and managed rental properties in a mobile home park in Cullman, Alabama, known as Hames Marina, to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging that Hames sexually harassed female tenants.
Under the agreement, Hames will pay $390,000 to 12 women who rented or sought to rent homes from him and a civil penalty of $10,000 to the government. The agreement also prohibits Hames from managing rental housing or contacting any of the women or their families. The agreement comes after a three-day trial during which the Justice Department presented compelling evidence to a Huntsville, Alabama, jury of Hames’ longstanding harassment and exploitation of female residents and prospective tenants, and the impact of Hames’ conduct on these women and their families.
“Today’s resolution recognizes the significant harm that the defendant caused to the women in this case and sends a message that this type of behavior is unacceptable and has no place in our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is firmly committed to vigorously pursuing landlords who sexually harass and exploit their tenants.”
“Sexual harassment by landlords is illegal, immoral and unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute these cases because everyone deserves to feel safe at home and thrive in an environment free from fear.”
The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed in July 2018, alleged that since at least 2011, Hames subjected female tenants and prospective tenants to a continuing pattern of egregious harassment, including demanding or pressuring female tenants to engage in sexual acts with him in exchange for rent or to prevent eviction, evicting female tenants when they refused his advances, making female tenants feel unsafe by stalking them and entering their residences without permission and making unwelcome sexual comments.
The case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative. The initiative, led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country, was launched in October 2017 and seeks to raise awareness about and address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing. Since launching the initiative, the department has filed 38 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $11.3 million for victims of such harassment.
If you think you are a victim of sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager or rental agent, you may contact the Justice Department at 1-844-380-6178, or submit an online report at civilrights.justice.gov/. Reports also may be made by contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777, or by filing an online complaint at www.hud.gov/fairhousing/fileacomplaint%20.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.