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General News / January 11, 2022

Landlords using sex for rent may be criminalised

Image via Unsplash
General News / January 11, 2022

Landlords using sex for rent may be criminalised

Words: Eva O’Beirne

Incidences of landlords offering free or reduced cost rooms in exchange for sex in Limerick and Dublin were reported on last month.

Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien is seeking to criminalise the act of soliciting sex for rent and has asked the Attorney General for advice over the drafting of potential legislation. The practice may be covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2017. 

According to an investigation by the Irish Examiner, one landlord from Limerick was reportedly advertising a room for a single lady “with a twist”. The ad also highlighted that reduced rent was available for “occasional fun.” 

The landlord emphasised that sexual activity was required on a weekly basis in return for rent of 200 euro for the first month and 250 euro per month after that.

When asked if the room was available without sexual favours, he said it was preferable to rent it out to someone willing to engage in sexual activity. He also promised the accommodation would be free if the tenant became his partner in the future.

The exploitation of tenants comes as no surprise as, according to Daft.ie, there are 65 per cent less homes available to rent nationwide than this time last year.

A report from Daft.ie highlighted that on November 1 2021, there were just 1,460 homes available to rent nationwide. The average monthly rent at present is 1,397 euro while average rents in Dublin are 1,915.58 euro per month.

The Irish Examiner also reported on a Dublin property being offered for free in return for a “friends with benefits” arrangement, with the advertisement reading: “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.” 

The issue of soliciting sex and sexual favours from tenants is far from new. In 2019, former Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger highlighted the issue in the Dáil, after being contacted by a tenant who was propositioned by her landlord in lieu of rent.

Following that, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) discussed the possibility of conducting research to establish how prevalent was the practice in Ireland. The research has not taken place.

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