Landlord sexual abuse is a crime. The perpetrator/landlord can be taken to civil court and held liable for these actions. In civil court, you are given the opportunity to sue your landlord for sexual abuse and receive compensation for personal damages you’ve suffered as a result of this abuse.
Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure your safety. If your landlord sexually abuses you on the rental property or fails to uphold their end of a rental agreement, you have grounds to sue them. Recovery is possible in civil court when a landlord is negligent and commits a crime of sexual abuse.
Contact the Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm to learn your legal rights when you’ve signed a rental agreement and what your landlord's legal duties are to protect you from harm while on their property. If they have sexually abused you, you have the right to take them to court and receive compensation and justice for their crimes.
When California Landlords Commit Sexual Abuse
Property managers and landlords are not above the law and are sometimes directly connected with sexual abuse or harassment. California Civil Code 51.9 covers the professional relationship between tenants and their landlord. Under this code, it states a landlord cannot make sexual advances, make sexual requests, solicit or require a tenant to comply with sexual demands. They are also not allowed to engage in physical, verbal, or visual sexual conduct which is unwelcomed with any gender.
If an employee of a landlord or property manager commits one of these illegal actions and sexually abuses a tenant, the landlord will not be allowed to deflect liability. The landlord themselves will also be found financially and legally responsible for their employee's conduct.
Contact Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm if you have been sexually abused by your landlord or by any employee of the complex. Sexual abuse is a complex crime, and it is best to have an experienced attorney working with you through this traumatic time. An attorney familiar with California laws will foresee the damages which can be reasonably gained in your circumstances. Lawyers dedicated to sexual abuse will serve as your advocate and remain your confidant throughout the litigation process.
Relationships between tenants and landlords are not always peaceful. Some landlords may attempt to intimidate or harass a tenant in retaliation of some event or to try and make them move out.
Harassment is any use of aggressive methods by a landlord when they are pressuring or intimidating you. These are any form of action that disrupts your quiet, enjoyment, or peaceful use of the rental unit. These actions can be in an attempt to force you to move or to prevent you from pursuing a legal right you have regarding your rental contract.
How landlords can harass a tenant:
Landlords have used endless methods of harassment against tenants. These actions are illegal, and your landlord can be held legally negligent and responsible if they have:
- Illegally entered your apartment — Emergencies are the only exception to the rule of your landlord not legally allowed to enter your living area without your consent. It is considered harassment if your landlord enters your apartment or living space without prior warning or permission.
- Shut off your utilities — Shutting off your services violates the warranty of habitability, which states that you have a legal right to basic necessities. These necessities include sewer, heat in the winter, and running water.
- Taken away amenities included in your lease — This harassment would include taking away an agreed-upon parking area or cutting off your access to laundry facilities.
- Refused to repair or maintain conditions — If your landlord refuses to maintain or improve the conditions of your rental unit in an attempt to make living uncomfortable for you, this is a form of harassment.
- Change your locks — As a form of harassment, landlords will sometimes change the locks on common doors or even entry doors to make tenants want to move.
- Removed personal possessions — Another form of harassment is when a landlord removes a tenant’s personal belongings from the property.
- Raise your rent — Most states require your landlord to give you at least a 30-day notice before they raise your rent. If your landlord suddenly demands an increase in the rent amount, it could be considered harassment.
- Wants to buy you out — Landlords will sometimes offer you a sum of money in an attempt to have you move out. It may be due to them wanting to sell the property or convert it into some other business. If you decline the offer, yet they continue to confront you, it could be considered harassment.
- Verbal threats — If your landlord verbally threatens you for any reason by text message, in person, or in writing, this is harassment.
- Physically threatens you — Some landlords will attempt to pressure a tenant with physical threats such as blocking their entry with their body, using their hands on you, or even by getting in your face to make a demand. This action is illegal and a form of harassment.
- Files a false charge — Landlords have been known to falsely file charges against a tenant, such as having a pet in a ‘no pets’ unit in their attempt to make them move. This action is not legal and can be considered a form of harassment.
- Sexual misconduct or harassment — Your landlord cannot harass you through crude remarks or obscene sexual advances as this is illegal, and you can file a claim for harassment.
California Laws Regarding Landlord Harassment and Sexual Abuse
In the State of California, sexual advances include visual, physical, and verbal sexual conduct and contact. Under the laws of California, you are able to sue your landlord for sexual abuse or harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or the Unruh Civil Rights Act. To prove your claim for sexual harassment under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, you must show:
- Your landlord physically touched you or committed an act of sexual abuse
- Your landlord made sexual solicitations, requests, demands, advances or they engaged in visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature based on gender
- Your landlord’s conduct was unwelcome, severe, or pervasive
- You were not able to terminate a relationship with your landlord
- You have suffered economic loss, personal injury, emotional distress, or other disadvantages due to your landlord’s conduct
- Your landlord offered you incentives in exchange for sexual conduct or favors
- You were sent offensive invitations or notes
- You were threatened to have your lease terminated or have services withdrawn unless you performed their sexual requests or accepted sexual advances
- You received repeated requests to ‘date’ even after attempting to ward off the attention
Examples of these offenses include:
- Your landlord states they will only allow you to keep renting from them if you go out on a date with them
- The landlord offers to take a certain amount of money off your rent in engage for sexual conduct with them
- Your landlord will only perform a necessary repair or replacement of essential housing item if you have a sexual encounter with them
- The landlord, an employee of the housing unit, or the property manager makes sexual comments or uses sexual words in your presence
- The property manager or landlord touches you or asks that you remove your clothing
- Your property manager or landlord refuses to help you after you’ve filed a complaint on their behaviors
Under California Civil Code 52, you have the right to file legal charges against your landlord if any of these situations have occurred. Contact the Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm to discuss your case and receive the legal representation you need to help you through this difficult time.
To file a claim for sexual harassment under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, you must prove:
- How frequent the conduct occurred
- How severe the conduct was
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening, humiliating, or an offensive utterance
- Whether or not it interfered with your enjoyment of your housing
The Fair Employment and Housing Act action will protect you from discriminatory actions from your landlord. If you have been sexually abused, you will want to file charges with the local authorities and seek the help of an attorney. You will want to receive your rightful compensation and justice against this heinous crime. Other charges may be filed for other forms of misconduct your landlord inflicted upon you, so you will want to speak with your attorney at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm to learn about all your legal options.
If you live in the San Francisco, California area, you have tenants rights under Prop M. This proposition lists the actions which are considered harassment by landlords in the city. It also contains possible solutions, including a potential decrease in the rent you are paying along with awards up to $1000 for each offense your landlord is found guilty of committing.
What California Considers a Hostile Environment from Sexual Abuse by Landlord or Harassment
A situation is considered a hostile sexual environment when a property manager, landlord, or one of their employees creates a living environment for you that is offensive, intimidating, hostile, less than desirable, and it affects your psychological well being. This behavior will have altered the terms of your tenancy.
Under the laws of California, the landlord is directly responsible for any form of harassment you encounter while living on their property, whether it be from them, another tenant, or one of their employees. Any type of harassment you faced, which they failed to prevent or take necessary steps to stop, makes them responsible for any outcomes you suffer. Claims for this form of sexual abuse and harassment can be filed with the courts even if you have not lost your housing or experienced any other kind of economic loss.
California’s Quid Pro Quo Sexual Abuse by Landlord or Harassment
California’s quid pro quo regarding the sexual abuse or harassment by a landlord happens when your landlord or the property manager makes retention of renting a housing unit conditional upon the performance of sexual acts. It is the unwelcome request or demand to engage in sexual conduct as a condition of being able to rent their property. A landlord or property manager is prohibited by law to condition the availability of standard practices, services, policies, or rental terms on the prospect that the tenant will engage in certain sexual or other conduct.
California Laws on Landlord Liabilities
In the State of California, landlords are held accountable when sexual assaults occur on their property. When you have proven how you were put at risk of danger and your landlord failed to protect you, they will be held accountable under the law. The laws in California state that landlords are responsible for:
- Providing a secure area — Under California Civil Code 1941.3, all landlords are required to provide their tenants with a duty of care. This duty means there are to be secure common areas such as stairwells, lobby, hallways, laundry facilities, rec rooms, swimming pools, elevators, or gyms. They are responsible for providing security measures that include securing doors with a locking mechanism that will not allow strangers access to the property. They are also responsible for ensuring proper lighting and depending on the property layout, video surveillance, and security gates should be installed along with motion sensors and security guards.
- Resident security features — The California Civil Code 1941.3 states landlords are responsible for providing secure doors and functional key locks. All windows are to include working locks, along with appropriate lighting fixtures on the outside of units. There should be properly working smoke detectors as well as carbon monoxide detectors in each unit. Any landlords who have signed leases with tenants after July of 1998 must have installed and maintained a deadbolt lock to all swinging entry doors of their units. The tenants are responsible for advising the landlords if these locks become inoperable, and the landlord will then be responsible for repairs or replacements.
- Reasonable measures to prevent crimes — Civil Code 1714, under California Law, states a landlord will be liable for any third-party criminal activity that occurs on the property. This activity includes rape, murder, assault, battery, or sexual abuse if the landlord should of known or did know there was an increased risk of the crime. If they had this knowledge and failed to take action, they will be held legally responsible.
- Enforce and abide by restraining orders — Civil Code 1941.5 under California Law states all landlords have the legal responsibility to change a tenant's locks if that person is vulnerable under a police order restraining order. The landlord has twenty-four hours to provide a new locking system to the party protected under such restraining order issued for domestic violence, stalking, or sexual abuse.
- Allow tenants to seek information on neighbors — The California Civil Code 2079.10a states all rental contracts are to include the language that informs tenants they have the right to access information regarding registered sex offenders.
An example of landlord negligence in a court situation occurred when a property owner failed to notify residents that a sexual predator was in the area. This failure of notice resulted in one of the tenants being held in one of the complex’s apartments for more than ten hours while a masked man sexually abused her. The apartment officials had been told of a similar incident that occurred just a few weeks earlier in this same complex. The officials of the apartment complex only told tenants that an apartment had been broken into, and did not relay the severity of the crime. The woman who suffered at the hands of this masked man for more than ten hours was awarded a twenty million dollar verdict against the apartment officials for their failure in protecting her.
If a landlord fails to ensure the safety and protection of their tenants properly, you can sue on the grounds they:
- Neglected to provide a duty of care
It is the landlord's legal duty of care to protect their tenants from harm and are required to follow generally accepted standards of care which are assumed by landlords in general
- Breached their duty
If your landlord fails to give you adequate protection against foreseeable crimes
- Caused harm
If by failing to provide appropriate safety and security, it leads to direct harm inflicted on you
If it is proven the landlord was negligent in their legal responsibilities, you can sue for injuries suffered or any damages that occurred as a result of those injuries
California Tenants are Protected from Landlord Retaliation After Filing Sexual Abuse Charges
If you have filed a claim against your landlord for sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment, or any other form of illegal activity they have conducted, you are protected under the law from them retaliating. No one has the right to commit an act of sexual abuse, and you are protected under the law of the State to file charges and seek justice for this horrible crime. You are protected from retaliatory actions as well if you have exercised your legal rights and filed a claim for any form of misconduct by your property manager or landlord. You have the legal right to:
- File a complaint with a government agency regarding sexual abuse or harassment
- Present your views as a group with other tenants or join a tenant union
- File a complaint about sexual abuse or harassment to the property management firm
You are entitled under the law to perform these actions without the fear of retaliation from your landlord such as:
- Not renewing your lease or terminating a month-to-month tenancy
- Increasing the amount of your rent
- Removing your amenities such as cable access or laundry services
- Evict you if you take them to court for misconduct
Legal Remedies for Landlord Sexual Abuse or Harassment
Cases of sexual abuse or harassment in the State of California are a bit complicated. You should document any alleged incidents that have occurred between you and your landlord, including the date of the incidents, the time, and the nature of the harassment. Keep all evidence of harassment such as voicemails, letters, photos, videos, text messages, or any form of communication you have received.
Your first step will be to speak with an attorney at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm who knows the legal process in California and who can help you navigate through it. Show them the evidence you have collected to help them prepare your case. After reviewing your case, they can help you through the necessary steps as far as whom to file a complaint with first.
If your attorney feels the first step is to contact the property manager, they can help you with the complaint, either verbally or in writing. Some times once you have gotten your attorney involved, the property manager or landlord is willing to stop the behaviors without you having to take them to court.
If speaking with the property manager or landlord does not provide the justice you are seeking, or if you have suffered emotional distress and turmoil, your attorney can help file your complaint with the proper legal resources to seek compensation for your suffering.
A formal complaint with the DFEH (California Department of Fair Employment and Housing) is required to be filed before you can file a civil lawsuit in the courts for sexual harassment by a landlord. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing will have to issue you a ‘right to sue’ notification before you are allowed to take your landlord to court. Your attorney at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm will help you obtain this right.
Who to Contact About Landlord Sexual Abuse Near Me
If you have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of your landlord, contact Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm at 310-359-9451. We understand the legal systems of California courts and the sensitivity involved with these crimes. We are here for you to help you heal and to find the justice and compensation you deserve against this crime. Call today, and we will discuss your case and find the best possible outcome in your favor.