The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act against the owner and manager of rental properties in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. 

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that Mohamad Hussein, who owns or manages over two dozen rental properties in Dearborn Heights, has subjected actual and prospective female tenants to sexual harassment on multiple occasions since at least 2017. The complaint alleges that Hussein made unwelcome sexual comments and advances, and offered actual and prospective female tenants housing-related benefits in exchange for engaging in sex acts with him or sending him sexually explicit images. According to the complaint, many of these instances took place in the spring of 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was difficult to secure housing in Michigan. The complaint also alleges that Hussein sent sexually explicit images of himself to prospective female tenants.

“No one should be denied the right to housing because they refuse to submit to a landlord’s sexual demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing the Fair Housing Act and seeking justice for those sexually harassed by landlords and other housing providers.”

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“Every resident of our district should be able to find and secure housing without facing discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Any feeling of safety and security is ripped away when individuals face sexual harassment in their own home. Our Civil Rights Unit works closely with the Civil Rights Division to hold those who violate the Fair Housing Act accountable.”    

Today’s lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate persons harmed by the alleged harassment, civil penalties to vindicate the public interest and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in federal court.

The Justice Department launched its Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative in October 2017. The initiative, which is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country, seeks to address and raise awareness about 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 29 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered over $9.8 million for victims of such harassment.