A northern Alabama landlord is facing a lawsuit from the Department of Justice (DOJ) over allegations that he demanded sexual acts from female tenants in exchange for rent or to prevent eviction.
Randy Hames, of Cullen, Alabama, is accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by engaging in sexual harassment, according to the DOJ, which is seeking monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties and a court order to bar future discrimination.
Hames allegedly demanded or pressured female tenants at his property Hames Marina, to engage in sex acts, evicted them when they refused his advances and made them feel unsafe by stalking and entering their residences without permission, according to the lawsuit.
“The alleged behavior of Randy Hames is abhorrent and repulsive,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town for the Northern District of Alabama said in a statement. “We will not let women, or any person, in our district be threatened, harassed or retaliated against by landlords.”
In October 2017, DOJ launched a new initiative called the Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative in an effort to fight harassment by landlords, property managers and other individuals with control over housing. Since it was launched, the department has filed or settled 10 sexual harassment cases and has recovered over $1.6 million in damages.
“Subjecting female tenants to harassment and demands for sex is offensive and illegal,” said John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general, in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act against landlords who engage in this reprehensible conduct. No woman should feel unsafe in her own home.”