A tenant organisation has written to almost 130 politicians asking them to do more to protect renters - especially lone females - from ‘sex for rent’ landlords.
The Scottish Tenants Organisation has contacted all 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament calling for “enhanced rights” for renters, across a range of issues.
The STO has told the Daily Record - a newspaper that has campaigned to expose the issue north of the border - that “the ‘sex for rent’ scandal by predatory landlords in Scotland who offer a room in return for sex … has to be eradicated."
It continues: “The best way to do this is to force all landlords in the private sector to register with their local authority so that they are properly vetted and licensed before they can be landlords.”
Labour Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill has campaigned to clamp down on ‘sex for rent’ landlords and says: “My Fair Rents Bill [now being put to the Scottish Parliament] seeks to bring about a fundamental shift in power in favour of tenants and I call on all parties to back any move to protect tenants in the current crisis.”
A landlord from Cranleigh in Surrey is believed to be the first to be charged over ‘sex for rent’ allegations and he is to appear in court later this month - February - to face two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain.
Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart says any tenant at risk of being exploited through an exchange of sex for accommodation should contact the police immediately and seek support.
“Any private landlord offering to rent properties in exchange for sexual activity should be reported to the relevant local authority, which has the power to determine that an individual is not, or is no longer, a fit and proper person to lawfully let their property” he adds.