Podcast: Delay in sex-for-rent law putting tenants’ safety at risk

Podcast: Delay in sex-for-rent law putting tenants’ safety at risk

An Italian woman who was propositioned with sex-for-rent offers when trying to find accommodation says the safety of renters is being put at risk until legislation is put in place to ban the practice.

Her case was highlighted in the Dáil when the Ban on Sex for Rent Bill was introduced by Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan on International Women’s Day last year. The bill has not progressed after pre-legislative scrutiny by the Justice Committee, which found it should not proceed because of concerns with the legislation.

Chantal, who does not want to be identified, previously told the Irish Examiner that trying to find a room in Dublin last year was “like falling in a dangerous hell”. She has spoken to the Irish Examiner for a podcast, A Dangerous Hell, which goes live on Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day.

The Italian woman said that it “is illogical” that sex-for-rent propositions are not outlawed, adding: “Something really bad could happen while waiting for something to be done. It could have been bad for me, and it could happen to someone else who is more desperate than I was.” 

The Departments of Justice and Housing have told the Irish Examiner that legislative proposals will be considered when recommendations are made following the review of Part 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2017, which is currently underway.

An independent expert was appointed in July 2020 to conduct the review of part 4 of the 2017 legislation, which criminalises payment for sexual activity with a prostitute or a trafficked person. The review, which was due to be completed at the end of last year, is still underway.

In recent days, the Irish Examiner found advertisements offering accommodation in return for sexual favours on a number of online platforms for different parts of the country.

A woman received offers which hinted at sex being required when replying to three separate advertisements online when looking for accommodation in Dublin.

In one, the prospective landlord told her he wanted photos of her and her future housemates before giving them an appointment to view the property. He also said he only wanted fe

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