An ITV investigation in Wales caught a man offering a woman free rent for a ‘friends with benefits arrangement’. Picture: ITV
An ITV investigation in Wales caught a man offering a woman free rent for a ‘friends with benefits arrangement’. Picture: ITV

‘Sex for rent’ reality exposed

THOUSANDS of men and women in England have been offered free or reduced rent in exchange for sexual favours in the last five years, according to YouGov poll carried out with the housing charity Shelter.

The survey of nearly 4000 tenants carried out between July and August 2017 found that four per cent of men and three per cent of women had been offered, or knew someone who had been offered, such a deal in the last year.

Another three per cent of men and three per cent of women said they had experienced the scenario in the last five years, with a further two per cent of each gender saying it had happened more than five years ago.

When extrapolated to the larger renting population, the findings are likely to mean that thousands of people had been offered "sex for rent" by a landlord.

One woman surveyed said she got a text after seeing a flat saying she "could have it for free if I performed some very explicit sexual acts with him," The Times reports.

Another said a landlord would show up each night and sit in her bedroom and refuse to leave. One woman said she was evicted 13 years ago after refusing her landlord's offer to have sex when she couldn't make the full rent payment.

A landlord has been recorded saying he would offer a free place to live for a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement. He later begged not to be exposed as a monster. Picture: ITV Wales
A landlord has been recorded saying he would offer a free place to live for a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement. He later begged not to be exposed as a monster. Picture: ITV Wales

The survey comes amid news rental accommodation is also being offered in Wales in exchange for sexual favours.
ITV journalist Sian Thomas recorded a man offering a two bedroom flat in the Welsh capital Cardiff with "reduced deposit/rent arrangement for alternative payments negotiable".

Speaking to her in front of a hidden camera, the unidentified man can be heard asking if she'd ever heard of a "a friends with benefit arrangement".

When asked "how often do you want to sleep with me" the man replies "maybe once a week."

"If we go ahead with our friends with benefit arrangement then, does that mean it's rent free?" she clarifies.

"To be honest, say for example we were going to go down the route of once a week then I wouldn't be interested in any rent or anything from you at all," the man replies.

After realising his comments had been recorded in a sting, the landlord said: "I should have trusted my gut and not done this."

"I have absolutely no intention of ever even considering doing this again, tonight has really given me a reality check and I'm ashamed of myself.

"Please don't expose me for a monster."

The UK Ministry of Justice views such an arrangement as illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which make it a crime when someone causes or incites prostitution.

However it's not the first time such behaviour has been revealed in the UK. Last year, Cosmopolitan writer Jennifer Savin recorded her meeting with a man known only as Mark in a London pub, who was offering a place to live.

Mark told her he would require she brought no men to the house and gave him any details about men she met outside the flat.

"I'm dominant and I'm looking for a submissive woman to move in. You'd be my lover, my plaything," Savin writes that he told her at their first meeting.

"I want someone to cook me the occasional meal, look after the house when I'm away on business and have adult fun with me. I've had this arrangement with various girls over the years, both British and from abroad, and it's always worked out well. And don't worry, I'm not into anything weird!"

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate told The Times the situation is made worse by a lack of affordable housing and few protections against eviction.

"Tragically, sexual harassment by landlords is yet another situation where men with power are too easily able to abuse women with none," she said.

 

Do you have a story to tell about sex for rent? Email victoria.craw@news.com.au.



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