Counter Culture / September 21, 2022

Justice Committee to make decision on sex-for-rent legislation next month

Image: Unsplash
Counter Culture / September 21, 2022

Justice Committee to make decision on sex-for-rent legislation next month

Words: Ellen Kenny

The Oireachtas will make a decision on whether to introduce legislation to tackle sex-for-rent landlords and protect tenants.

The Oireachtas Committee on Justice will make a decision next month on legislation introduced to tackle sex-for-rent arrangements.

The Ban on Sex for Rent Bill 2022 would introduce a seven-year jail and a fine of up to 50,000 euros for a person who requires or accepts from a person as a condition of accommodation. This person could be a landlord, a property agent, a contractor, or an “agent” for the provider of the accommodation. The Bill also counts advertising sex-for-rent on websites as an offence.

The current legislation published online does not include offences such as soliciting sexual images.

The Bill was introduced by Social Democrats housing spokesman Cian O’Callaghan in March 2022. O’Callaghan said a small minority of exploitative landlords expected sex in return for “putting a roof over people’s heads”.

O’Callaghan said the legislation would not be a final solution in ending such practices. According to O’Callaghan, “It is not an alternative to investing in social housing, cost rental and affordable purchase homes. It is not an alternative to the high-rent, market-driven housing that is so highly favoured by some quarters. It is just a small step in trying to address this exploitative practice.” 

The Bill was supported by all three political parties in Government in March is now in the committee stage.

Members of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice include Senators Lynn Ruane and Barry Ward and TDs Thomas Pringle, Patrick Costello, James Lawless and Jennifer Carroll MacNeill. You can also find the full list of members and their contact information here.

Sex-for-rent market

The Ban on Sex for Rent Bill 2022 was introduced following an investigation by The Irish Examiner into the sex-for-rent market.

One ad was for a shared house in Newcastlewest, Limerick, with the landlord advertising a room for a single lady “with a twist”: “Can do reduced rent for occasional fun.” When contacted by a prospective tenant, the landlord clarified that sex was required on a weekly basis in exchange for rent of 200 euros for the first month and 250 euros per month following that.

Another advertisement read: “Hey currently have a room to rent in North county Dublin, not looking to rent for cash but instead a fwb situation. Strictly applies to females, no males will be considered.”

Another advertisement promises a single room for a girl without rent. The advertiser wrote: “House located in Santry Dublin, so close to city, free car park and bus stop at home.. Let’s chat soon. Note please only for sweet cute and charming girl only…Hahahaha Ping me soon, NSA.”

O’Callaghan said, “As the situation for renters gets worse and worse, there is a strong need for clear legislation to deter anyone seeking to exploit renters who are simply looking for somewhere safe and secure to live.”

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