A woman’s choice – sexual favours or lose her home

Across the US, sexual harassment at the hands of landlords, property managers and others in the housing industry can drive poor women and their children into homelessness. It is a problem badly understood and virtually unstudied.

Feature (North Carolina)

Jessica Lussenhop
BBC News
January 11, 2018

Tags: Housing: Landlord-Tenant, Sexual Harassment

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC)


In a post-Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo world, most people are well aware sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. But across the US, women are subjected to it in a far more intimate setting – their homes.

Every year, hundreds of state and federal civil lawsuits are filed against landlords, property owners, building superintendents and maintenance workers alleging persistent, pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct, covering everything from sexual remarks to rape. This includes so-called “quid pro quo” sexual harassment, wherein the perpetrator demands sex in exchange for rent or repairs.

“In employment, you leave. It’s horrible, but you can leave and go home,” says Kelly Clarke, a supervising lawyer at the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. “This is somebody who can invade your home.”