A new law to crack down on predatory landlords who exploit vulnerable people for sex in return for free or discounted rent is being considered, Home Secretary Suella Braverman (main picture) has announced.
Her department is seeking the views of victims, the police and charities as part of a call for evidence launching today to better understand the scale and nature of the ‘sex for rent’ exchange in the UK.
‘Sex for rent’ arrangements are already illegal under the Sexual Offences Act, and landlords can already be prosecuted for attempting to engage the practice.
The consultation will look at whether these laws go far enough, or if new measures are needed to tackle the issue and better protect vulnerable people from harm.
The practice has been in and out of the headlines in recent years, including the high profile case of Christopher Cox who, in May 2022, was found guilty of the crime and jailed for 12 months.
“It’s wholly unacceptable that vulnerable people, and particularly young women, are being exploited in ‘sex for rent’ arrangements,” says Braverman.
“This is an abuse of power which puts people in desperate situations and has no place in our country.
“The launch of this public call for evidence brings us closer to ending this deeply harmful trend and better protecting victims.
“And it is another example of how this government will not stop in our efforts to bring more sexual and domestic abusers to justice.
According to research by polling firm YouGov, carried out on behalf of the housing charity Shelter, nearly 1 in 50 women in England have been propositioned for ‘sex for rent’ in the last five years.