Sex for rent scams exposed in Liverpool

With the housing crisis reaching boiling point, the need for good quality homes has never been keener. However, an undercover investigation by a Liverpool-based journalist has uncovered a seedy side to this vital industry.

The sex-for-rent trend has been gathering pace across the UK for some time, and journalist Emilia Bona, a reporter for the Liverpool Echo, uncovered clear examples of this worrying epidemic in the city.

Posing as a potential tenant, the reporter contacted two potential landlords who were advertising their private rental properties in the city via Craigslist. One was looking for a young lady to live in a one bedroom flat, and upon meeting with Bona insisted that she would not have to pay rent, but would need to meet him a couple of times a week for sex.

The other arrangement was for a property to be shared with a landlord. The advert offered a room for a ‘female companion’ who was willing to ‘share everything with him’. The tenant was required to pay £80 a month rent for the room, however there was an attached suggestion that the rent could be reduced, ‘depending on what we can work out together’.

Bona asked the landlord outright if the was a suggestion of sex, and the landlord replied that he was looking to reach an ‘adults agreement.’

Offering accommodation in return for sex contravenes Section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which prevents causing or inciting an individual to become a prostitute for your own personal gain. The two landlords are now being investigated by the Merseyside Police, and if found guilty could face up to seven years in prison.

Offering accommodation in return for sex is illegal and those who do so can face up to seven years in prison. We are determined to crack down on this problem and make sure the law is properly understood and enforced. Our message is clear - landlords who exploit vulnerable people will not be tolerated.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice

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