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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Sex-For-Rent: Landlords named and shamed in newspaper sting

A Labour MP is demanding action against unscrupulous predator landlords who demand sex from tenants in lieu of rent.

The Daily Mail says it has contacted over 20 UK male landlords advertising on the US-owned listings website Craigslist - reporters were posing as a 21-year-old student who was repeatedly offered free accommodation in exchange for sexual acts.

The sexual overtures were made by an HMRC staff member and a former member of RAF Support Command amongst others. The Mail names some of the landlords it contacted.

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Now Peter Kyle, shadow justice minister and Labour MP for Hove, says three things need to happen to eradicate the problem.

Firstly enforcement - he says placing suggestive ads is an offence, with hundreds now live on the Craigslist site. “Think about it: these perpetrators actually advertise their crime with phone number attached...why so hard to charge them?” asks Kyle.

Secondly he wants the creation of a specific offence in an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which may encourage more victims to come forward. Under the current legislation, victims must be legally defined as prostitutes, which is thought to be a deterrent to vulnerable individuals reluctant to come forward over fears it will adversely affect their futures.

Thirdly Kyle also wants Craigslist to be accountable for the advertising it allows. “They are profiting from the sexual exploitation of British youngsters. Instead of treating them as the pimps they are, they’re feted as Californian tech gurus. They ignore government, journalists, and my attempts to discuss” he continues.

Kyle says the problem is particularly acute in high rent areas such as Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Brighton. 

And the problem is exacerbated by the Coronavirus crisis.

“These predators see every crisis, both personal and public health, as an opportunity for exploitation. These people shouldn't be free to advertise their crimes, they should be before a jury answering for their crimes.”

Kyle first raised the issue three years ago. In 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service issued revised guidance on 'prostitution and exploitation of prostitution offences' to include sex-for-rent cases. The guidance suggests such arrangements could be committing the offence of causing prostitution for gain under Section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The Mail says it approached Craigslist corporately and its senior managers for comment, but did not receive any response.

You can see the Mail article here.

  • Algarve  Investor

    A rare example of the Daily Mail doing something in the public good. Fair play to the paper.

    Shocking stuff, but what makes it more shocking is it's not surprising! No surprise that what we'd deem as respected people - such as an HMRC staff member and a former member of the RAF - were involved. There's this idea that if you're a member of the Armed Forces, you are automatically decent and heroic, which is total tosh of course.

    Of course, it's only a very small minority of wrong'uns - and most landlords are decent - but we do need to call these people out when they do wrong.

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    I wonder why Landlord Today has not named those reprehensive landlords, - as its source for the article the Daily Mail has named some of them - it should have named and shamed them - LT frequently names landlords found guilty of other offences. The article states that these landlords "could" be committing an offence - so it's not entirely clear that crimes have actually taken place, so action is not be taken. So the law therefore needs to change and be more specific in this particular case. (And of course LT again politicises its articles by twice referring to the MP being Labour - completely irrelevant.)

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    I'm all for naming and shaming , we often have articles in our local paper about fly tipping, but they are never named.

     
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    You do have to ask why they were looking for somewhere to rent on Craigslist in the first place. After reading this article I have just searched on Craiglist for a room to rent in Manchester and it is has come up with a list of postings clearly offering a room in exchange for benefits. Does our legal system really need to waste tax payers money acting against such adverts? Some of the adverts are laughable. I am surprised that any woman would actually take them seriously or be naive enough to not see through them.

  • Franklin I

    The fact that a tenant is looking for a place to rent on Craigslist, rather than Right Moves, Zoopla, On The Market, Primelocation or any other reputable lettings agent platform is an indication that they're also part of the problem.

    They're not exactly victims!!

    We have simple laws in place that protects tenant's rights from Rogue LL's.

    These are the same similar laws that protects our consumer rights for purchasing goods and services under section 75!

    These laws do not necessarily protect one from cash transactions, bitcoins or sexual favours as an exchange currency in return for goods/services provided outside of the norm.

    Whilst I don't condone the actions of these LL's, we must understand that a professionally referenced tenant can rent a property legally from any of us LL's and use the premises as a brothel or base for escort services.

    Who then becomes the victim in this scenario?

    If Peter Kyle wishes to enforce laws on these practices, is Peter Kyle going to include the existing commercial LL's in Soho, London’s W1 area?

    Whilst these PRS LL's are being made to look like Pimps, of some sort, imposing 3% stamp duty, removing LL's tax relief, adding Landlord's Licensing, Tenant's Fee Act 2019 etc is a form of legalised pimping at the expense of LL's!




  • George Dawes

    Oh miss jones !

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