LBC uncovers London landlords who exchange rent for sex
12 December 2019, 07:23 | Updated: 12 December 2019, 14:21
An LBC investigation has found a number of landlords offering rent-free accommodation to young women in London in exchange for sex.
On the website Craigslist, we found adverts posted offering spacious rooms in envious location with no payment required - instead asking for young women to get in touch in return for something more salacious.
"£1 Free Accommodation for Beautiful Face Sitting Female."
"Free Accommodation For Favour."
"I'm offering free accom [sic] for women who don't mind returning the favour. Email me a pic and a reason why I should choose you.'
"Rent and bill free for female student or similar."
We spoke to landlords in emails to clarify what they wanted from young women. One man said he was after a "daddy/daughter type scenario" while another was asking for an "intimate arrangement."
In one message, a man said:
"The room is clearly free for a reason and I'm guessing you are aware that craigslist is a little more liberal than most posting boards... to the rest of the world you would simply be my lodger but you and I would be party to a little secret."
We spoke on the phone to one landlord, who wouldn't give his name, but revealed that he'd written a BDSM “manual” he wanted to explore with his 'tenant.'
A second man agreed to meet up with us in a fast food restaurant in London. He was nervous to meet but admitted he wanted 'a boyfriend/girlfriend' relationship with someone. When asked if that would involve “holding hands” he replied, “more than that.”
The third landlord, a man we're calling 'Jonathan' spoke first on the phone to our actress, Gemma, who went undercover to express interest in this arrangement.
He explained how he'd engaged in this arrangement twice before; one many years ago with an Australian friend who couldn’t afford London rent, and more recently with a woman he’d discovered on Craigslist.
She was on the run and hiding from an abusive ex who she was afraid would track her down if she was working and paying for rent normally.
He told Gemma the woman stayed with him at the start of the year and they would engage in “daddy/daughter” type scenarios.
Jonathan then told actress Gemma that if she were to move into his property, it would be “their secret”.
He said, "I'm happily single, I don't want a relationship but I do enjoy sex. And if you can help me with that then I can do my bit and look after you and make sure you don't pay any rent and look after you and provide a good place to live.”
After this phone conversation, Jonathan then agreed to meet up with Gemma in a coffee shop to discuss the terms of the contract; he said he’d wear a condom, would give her a “tenancy agreement”, they would discuss schedules in advance and he required sex “a few times a week.”
The landlord was then confronted by our correspondent Rachael Venables. Jonathan maintained he didn’t know it was illegal and said he was “ashamed” and “wouldn’t do it again.” He also apologised for any hurt caused.
Sex for Rent arrangements are largely untested in law. We asked the Crown Prosecution Service why.
They told our correspondent that the reason for this is no file has ever been passed to them from the police for an assessment and a prosecution.
Legally they say ,"Such arrangements can lead to the exploitation of highly vulnerable persons who are struggling to obtain accommodation."
“Therefore, the provision of accommodation in return for sex is capable of being caught by the following legislation (Sexual Offences) (causing prostitution for gain) and that an advertisement would also be unlawful in accordance with section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (inciting prostitution for gain).”
The Crown Prosecution Service said: “We would like to make clear that seeking to exploit vulnerable tenants through so-called sex-for-rent arrangements may amount to a criminal offence.
"Robust guidance in relation to this behaviour was issued to prosecutors earlier this year. We hope it gives anyone who feels they have been exploited the confidence to come forward.”
Watch our undercover investigation into rent for sex above.