Tenant fee bill

Government pressed to act over rent-for-sex cases

The recent spate of sex for rent cases have been becoming more and more frequent, with the shocking practice gathering pace in towns and cities across the country.

The government have been urged once again this week to take steps to introduce legislation to stamp out this practice once and for all.

Speaking in the House of Commons this week, Wera Hobhouse MP, the Liberal Democrat representative for Bath, questions her fellow cabinet colleagues on how many successful prosecutions there had been of ‘landlords’ who offer free accommodation in exchange for sexual services. She reiterated that the sex-for-rent trade is an illegal practice, but continues to occur up and down the country.

The practice, as well as being morally wrong, contravenes Section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. It does so because offering accommodation in return for sex or sexual acts would mean that the landlord is directly causing or inciting an individual (the tenant) to become a prostitute for their own personal gain. If an individual is found guilty of contravening Section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act, they could face up to seven years in prison.

Hobhouse called for the creation of legislation to prevent websites from hosting adverts in which living accommodation is offered in exchange for sexual services. In response to her calls, Equalities Minister Edward Argar agreed that the practice ‘preys on vulnerable people’ seeking affordable accommodation, and described it as ‘despicable’. He assured the House that his department had been working hard to ensure that there is availability to prosecute this behaviour.

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