Landlords are offering free rent in exchange for sex, according to an investigation by students.
Canterbury Christ Church University’s student news service Unified is reporting that more than 10 landlords have offered sex for rent deals as the new academic year begins.
A reporter posted an advert on the Craiglist site and received messages from landlords with instructions on what they expect in return for room and board.
Unified says that one response read: “Two to three times a week and full service (massage). You could tell me what you’re happy to do.
“So two to three times a week, massage and sex.”
Another is said to have had an international student live with him for eight months, claiming: “She got what she wanted and so did I.”
Exchanging sex for rent is not illegal, but it could be regarded as incitement to prostitution.
Det Ch Insp Lee Whitehead from Kent Police said: “Landlords who advertise rooms in exchange for sexual favours are actively targeting vulnerable people, and I would urge anyone who is being exploited in this way to please report it to us.
“Organisations including Shelter and Citizens Advice provide support for those struggling to find affordable accommodation, including students living away from home who need not put themselves at risk by responding to such adverts.
“Any incidents reported to Kent Police will be fully investigated to establish if any crimes have been committed, and officers will work with the Crown Prosecution Service to charge offenders and bring them before the courts.”
Campaigners are also working to outlaw rent for sex on the grounds that it targets vulnerable young women or those with financial issues. They want to see landlords offering such deals properly prosecuted.
News organisations, including the BBC, have uncovered evidence of rent for sex landlords operating across the UK.