Sex-for-Rent Lawsuit Against North Carolina Housing Agency

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that a Hickory, North Carolina public housing administrator sexually harassed and threatened 5 women. The women claim that the Hickory Public Housing Authority ignored their complaints that its former administrator, Montele Burton, sexually harassed and threatened them.

Accusations of Abuse

One woman accuses Burton of stalking her, going through her laundry, and showing up at her home after hours. Another woman claims that Burton offered to pay her rent in exchange for sexual favors. Two of the five women admit to performing sexual favors because they needed the money. These allegations become public after a series of reports by The Charlotte Observer.

Burton has denied the allegations, calling this a “witch hunt,” based upon lies started by former co-workers. Burton claims that the tenants are seeking revenge for him making sure that they paid rent on time. 

Hickory Public Housing Authority Executive Director Alanda Richardson has previously denied the accusations and stated that she was unaware of the harassment accusation until an attorney began contacting tenants to ask whether they had been harassed by Burton. 

Burton left his position as an administrator with the Hickory Public Housing Authority in February 2015, while under investigation for an inappropriate relationship with a tenant. Burton then joined the Statesville Housing Authority as an assistant property manager in June 2015. The Statesville Housing Authority and Burton later “mutually agreed to separate” once the Observer’s reports were published.

In response to an open records request from the Observer, the Monroe Housing Authority released records from Burton’s personnel file showing that he was fired in October 2011 after an investigation of text messages he sent to a female tenant.

Laws to Protect Vulnerable Tenants

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (The Fair Housing Act) protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for housing. Specifically, it prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. However, sexual harassment of tenants by predatory landlords remains a persistent problem, and is the subject of a recent rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices Under the Fair Housing Act will formalize standards used in investigations and adjudications of discrimination and harassment claims. The rule further defines “quid pro quo” and “hostile environment harassment,” as prohibited under the Fair Housing Act, and adds illustrations of discriminatory housing practices that constitute such harassment.

HUD receives approximately 1,600 – 1,900 harassment complaints each year.  The majority of these complaints involve sexual harassment. This suit against Burton and the Hickory Public Housing Authority is one of many recent housing discrimination suits. In July, Southeast Community and Family Services Inc. in Robeson County, North Carolina, paid $2.7 million in damages after its administrators were accused of sexual harassment. In September, the city of Baltimore housing authority was sued by a group of tenants who allege that the maintenance men were demanding sex in exchange for repair work. 

If you feel that you are the victim of housing discrimination you can contact HUD to file a Housing Discrimination Complaint.  

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption