Thursday 17 October 2019

Rogue landlords demanding 'sex for rent' from vulnerable tenants, Dail told

Irish Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger (Oireachtas/PA)
Irish Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger (Oireachtas/PA)
John Downing

John Downing

Rogue landlords are seeking “sex for rent” from vulnerable tenants, the Dáil has been told.

The Dublin West TD urged the Government to deal with these landlords adding that there was a need for statistics on such incidents to be collected.

Replying for the Government Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy, said the details given sounded “disgusting and a horrible thing for someone to have to go through”.

Mr Murphy added that it was a criminal matter and should be reported to gardai.

Outlining the allegations to the Dáil Ms Coppinger said the woman was renting a “bedsit in all but name” in the Rathmines area. She pointed out that bedsits are now illegal under housing reforms.

The Solidarity TD gave some details from text messages exchange with between the woman tenant and her landlord.

The tenant said she had to leave because the rent was to expensive.

“Are you coming to live with me in my house?” the landlord allegedly replied.

The female tenant then asked “Are you being serious?”

The landlord then replied: “Yes, I think you’re beautiful. Maybe you could stay there for two months at half rent and we could go for dinner to ‘see what happens’”.

The woman rejected this and the landlord then texted in reply. “I’ll make you a better offer. You can stay here for free until Christmas if we can agree something,” the landlord reportedly offered.

Ms Coppinger said the case showed it was “high time we collated data in this country”. She said the Government had allowed a situation where young women in very vulnerable situations could be put under undue pressure.

“Because the landlords rule in this Dáil and you’ve done nothing about it,” Ms Coppinger argued.

The Dublin West TD said the tenant in the case was thankfully able to move on. She said the Shelter organisation in England estimated that 250,000 women had been propositioned with free or reduced rent in exchange for sex.

The Housing Minister said the situation was “reprehensible” and a matter for the gardai for criminal investigagion. “I hope it is being addressed in that way,” Mr Murphy said.

The Minister said the Government had earlier introduced the biggest reforms since rental controls had been introduced, to improve tenants’ security. He added that he would speak to Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan, to see what could be done about these type of situations.

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