Regulation and Enforcement

Sex for rent is already an offence – the authorities MUST take it seriously

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

‘These landlords asked me for sex instead of rent.’

This is just one of the recent headlines on the sex for rent scandal, which has seen increasing reports of men advertising rent-free accommodation in their homes in exchange for sex.

One of the most recent articles, an investigation by the BBC, refers to these people as ‘landlords’.

The RLA – which condemns this practice in the strongest possible terms – wants to stress that these people are not landlords, they are criminals and need to be prosecuted.

RLA policy director David Smith said: “Anyone asking for sex for rent is committing an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

“Paying for a service with sex is prostitution – there is no requirement for money to be exchanged – and encouraging someone to do that is encouraging prostitution which is also an offence and must be treated as such.

“The circumstances described in the BBC article – where the person answering the advertisement would be sharing amenities with person who owns the property would be a lodger arrangement.

“These are not tenant and landlord relationships and it is unhelpful to describe them as such.”

Mr Smith said that, while there have been calls for new legislation specifically banning this practice, police already have the means to prosecute these criminals, who are taking advantage of vulnerable people with limited resources and options.

He said: “This practice is illegal and what is needed is action by the police to prosecute.

“If they are not taking action now, there is no point introducing a new offence that the authorities will also fail to enforce.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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