In Brief

Sex-for-rent landlords caught on camera

Undercover reporter was offered free rent and bills in exchange for sexual favours

Two landlords in Bristol have been filmed by hidden cameras offering free rent in return for sex, in a sting aimed at exposing the dangers faced by female tenants.

BBC reporter Rachel Stonehouse went undercover to investigate after spotting dozens of local adverts on Craigslist looking for “friends with benefits” relationships with potential renters.

One ad offered a “double room in return for your booty”, while another was looking for someone willing to “surrender” to the landlord twice a week. “Rent will be super cheap as just want payment in other ways such as cooking, cleaning and maybe sexually,” said another.

Stonehouse posed as a prospective housemate and secretly recorded a meeting with one landlord, named only as Tom, who owned a flat outside Bristol. Tom, believed to be in his 60s, was looking for a tenant to share his bed in return for free rent.

Asked if sex was a requirement, he replied: “At the end of the day, yeah.”

Another landlord, named as Mike, told the journalist: “The room, the rent, all the bills, everything paid for. And I’ll even give you an allowance every week so that you feel that you're looked after… The benefit is that you sleep with me once a week.”

When told about the secret camera, Tom did not wish to comment, while Mike claimed he had been doing research for a novel he was writing about the exploitation of women.

The sting was shown on BBC One’s Inside Out West last night.

According to the Ministry of Justice, offering sex for rent is illegal and can result in up to seven years in prison. However, one legal expert told the programme that it is a bit of a “grey area”.

A survey carried out by YouGov for housing charity Shelter estimated that 250,000 women in the UK had been propositioned by landlords in return for reduced rent in the past five years, reports The Times.

Nikki Watson, an assistant chief constable at Avon and Somerset Police, urged any victims to report their landlords to the police.

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