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MP wants amendment to Renters’ Reform Bill to prosecute “sex for rent” landlords

An amendment is urgently required to the Renters’ Reform Bill to prosecute “sex for rent” landlords and reassure victims that they will not be accused of prostitution, according to Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse.

A small minority of rogue landlords are illegally offering free accommodation in return for sexual favours. According to the Crown Prosecution Service  (CPS), such deals are an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

It is punishable by up to seven years in prison, and yet there are still a number of adverts offering ‘free rooms’ available online. 


“These arrangements have become alarmingly common,” Webber wrote in an article for Politics Home. “For thousands of people across the country, rent has become unaffordable and the threat of homelessness all too real.”

After months of campaigning by Webber in Parliament, the government has agreed to update the Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance to include sex for rent specifically, making it crystal clear that these arrangements are illegal.

However, the new guidelines have meant very little when it comes to being able to prosecute the landlords who take advantage of tenants in this way, and the MP wants that to change. 

She continued: “Almost a year has passed since the CPS updated its guidance and there still has not been a single successful prosecution for sex for rent. A new approach is needed.

“Speaking to legal experts, they raise the concern that anyone bringing a case against a landlord could risk being labelled a prostitute. For this reason, victims feel afraid to come forward – concerned that by involving the law they put themselves in jeopardy. And the worst part is, as the law currently stands, that could easily be the case.

“Our system is failing these victims, pressuring them into silence. That leaves predatory landlords free to continue a cycle of coercive sex for rent arrangements.

“The legal ambiguity must be ended. We must be able to prosecute landlords who commit this crime, while reassuring victims that it is not their fault and without dragging them into the spotlight.

“We need to place a specific duty on landlords not to pursue sex for rent arrangements.”

Webber will be putting down an amendment to the government’s forthcoming Renters’ Reform Bill to do exactly that: provide a mechanism in law to prosecute landlords who exploit their tenants.

She added: “This is an appalling practice and, as I have learned in the last year and a half, it is also a complicated issue. It will not go away by itself and we must act now in order to stop it becoming common place.

“Most importantly, the victims of sex for rent arrangements need clarity and justice. And this is what I will be fighting for with my amendment to the Renters’ Reform Bill.”

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    It is certainly a good legislation, however it will give rogue tenants more opportunities to exploit good, innocent landlords by accusing them to avoid evictions first genuine reasons like non payment of rent/property damage/refusal to fix damage/refusal to allow entry to workers etc.

    What evidence will be used in courts to prove that the tenant or landlord is telling the truth?? Videos of caught in act won’t be possible by either of the victims-landlord or tenant so It will alway be one party’s word against the other with witness (not likely to be available unless shared homes, acts in public places or witnesses are paid).

    It’s more than likely that Female tenants will try to get away with it by accusing Male landlords by claiming sex for rent, even if the landlords had not stated or applied this practice.

    Our laws provide protection to everyone under Sexual Offences Act 2003 to refuse Sex for rent/similar practices and inform the police immediately without any further anti Landlords specific legislations.

    Why not make it compulsory to include information about Sexual Offence Act 2003 to be included in the Tenancy Start pack/Right to Rent documents to inform Tenants of their Safety and Rights?
    This the Easiest, Most Efficient, Effective, Less time/admin burden and an Evidence based solution for good landlords, good tenants, as well as for courts, and Police if the matter gets to that stage?

    Unless there are safeguards to protect both innocent parties (Landlords & Tenants) based on actual physical evidence to be presented in court, this legislation should not be allowed.
    For clarification of doubt: I am a female Real Estate professional.
    I have seen female tenants tell lies, accuse innocent landlords (both male and females) as well as their families of sex for rent to avoid evictions based on other genuine reasons (rent non payment, property damage, nuisance neighbor, criminal behaviours and acts), thus resulting in long costly court cases to prove the innocence of Good Landlords.
    Hence I am against this legislation change proposed by MP Wera Hobhouse unless Landlords are protected from Rogue Tenants.

    Perhaps MP Wera Hobhouse doesn’t have sufficient workload, or genuinely worthwhile matters to consider hence is going after good landlords.
    Instead of hounding good landlords, MP’s should be focusing more on removing grooming gangs from the streets of U.K., forcing Home Office to release the reports to show which MP’s, and Senior Civil Servants are involved in those Sex scandals brushed under the carpet by Labour and Liberal Senior officials.

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    why is it good legislation?

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    Sex for rent ? well that's being paid for sex, prostitution , so these tenants would be admitting to being prostitutes, against the law, lock them up, problem solved.


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