Rogue landlords are exploiting vulnerable people by offering free accommodation in exchange for sex, charities have warned. They say the deals take advantage of those unable to afford spiralling rents and ‘go as close to the edge of the law … without breaking [it]’.
Websites hosting adverts for such offers are being urged to tackle the problem.
As young people and the low-paid are priced out of accommodation, particularly in south-east England, ‘sex for rent’ adverts have sprung up online.
One classified advertising site, Craigslist, carried more than 100 such listings in a single day, a BBC investigation found.
A female student who answered one of them said she felt it was her only option.
She added: ‘He took me into his living room, got me drinks, and then after that it was just straight upstairs … He would do what he wanted, forcefully, and I just sort of went along with it.’
Labour MP Peter Kyle said classified websites should stop allowing the adverts or Parliament should intervene.
‘If [websites] don’t stand up to this and then accept their responsibility, I will be pushing for legislation to do it for them,’ he said.
A string of charities have backed his calls for a crackdown.
Mel Potter, of the Brighton Oasis Project for women, said: ‘It’s something that potentially can trap someone and put them at risk of violence and abuse.’