Feature Length- opinion – Sex For Rent
Hove’s Labour MP Peter Kyle was recently in the media spotlight over his attempts to ban advertisements offering accommodation in return for sex.
Yet politicians attempting to regulate sex between consenting adults sharing accommodation is likely to cause more problems than any they solve.
The image of the wicked landlord preying on innocent, unsuspecting women is quickly dispelled by the very wording of the ad; sex for accommodation.
Surely everybody knows what to expect if the ad spells it out so clearly?
We spoke to a landlord of over 30 years experience living in Brighton’s bohemian St James’s Street area and have withheld names to protect individuals’ anonymity.
“Normally I let spare bedrooms in my own home to overseas students who are taking a gap year.
“However this August I had a vacancy, and an English woman in her thirties replied to my accommodation to let advertisement.
“I was so looking forward to welcoming her that I ignored all the warning signs such as her current landlady wanting her out immediately.
“Yet when she arrived she immediately paid her deposit and the advertised rent.
“All went well until she suggested we go for a sunset swim adding that she enjoyed swimming in the nude. Pulse racing, I agreed.
“It wasn’t too dark when we reached the water’s edge. I rushed straight in but she stopped with the water lapping her knees.
“She’d decided it was time to chat with me about my accepting Housing Benefit claimants even though my ad clearly stated ‘No DSS’.
“With the sea safely up to my neck I asked what she did for a living.
“I’m a call girl,” she replied explaining she’d been active in Brighton for the last four years.
“My dream come true! A live in call girl paying rent with free sex on tap.
” ‘This is going to end badly,’ my daughter cautioned down the phone, ‘throw the whore out!’
“Sure enough, we didn’t have enough in common for a relationship to last so irritation soon turned to dislike, and it ended with her leaving.
“As for the rent? Well, our conversation went like this.
“One morning Eleanor our lodger, sat down in the living room, sitting upright with her legs drawn up in classic yoga pose.
“‘My mum has given me the rent,’ she informed me. ‘And Housing Benefit has also paid. But I’ve spent the lot, so what are you going to do about it?’
“Whip the sin out of you?” I screamed.
” ‘Oh goody!’ she replied as she jumped up. Turning around she
pulled her leggings down and bent right over.
” ‘Do you want these down as well?’ she enquired as she touched her underwear..
” ‘Oh, and before we forget, do you want to nip over to the cashpoint?’ she added.
“How much should I withdraw?” I asked somewhat spell bound.
“All of it?” she smiled in return.
“Of course I was speaking literally and didn’t go through with such a preposterous suggestion.”
This illustrates the central problem which Mr Kyle seems to have overlooked.
The average Brighton rent is little more than £15 per night and few attractive young women will have sex for that, particularly when call girl rates start at £150, and rise to £1,000 for all night sessions.
The rent quickly becomes irrelevant as it is probably less than what the girl would tip a taxi driver on the way home from a client.
A live in call girl can cost upwards of £30,000 a month which only rich people can afford.
A landlord is seeking to gain much needed extra income, and not to end up signing over his house to a young hussy.
Perhaps MPs should consider strengthening the law to protect homeowners?
Most buy to let landlords don’t even meet their prospective tenants as many lenders insist on insurance being taken out against tenants’ non-payment.
This necessitates letting agents handling the credit checks, references and deposits resulting in the landlord barely getting a look in.
Also a large number of landlords are in fact ordinary homeowners letting a spare room for some extra money.
The Brighton landlord, we mentioned earlier, added that mostly he had interacted well with his lodgers, although there were a few exceptions.
“Around 2009 when the first East Europeans started to arrive I was propositioned by a number of woman,” he confessed.
“A Polish woman aged about 50 answered my ad for a room to let. She said the room and I were fine. But I was just letting the room, not me as well.
“Yet she expected me to realise that she would never be able to earn enough money in her remaining working life to buy an average priced Brighton house.
“Also that dating English home owning widowers was daunting if she was new to both our language and culture. So ‘room to let’ ads were a short cut to both.
“She was really quite annoyed by my rejection,” he said.
“On occasions young Italian women have moved in, correctly paying their rent on time.
“Then she has offered to cook for me, and the second or third time asked me if I find her attractive.
“I’ve said ‘oh yes’ and asked her if she would like to come out for a drink in a nearby pub.
“Blushing, she agrees. So I take her to a gay bar where she usually looks crestfallen, and then moves out a while later after finding somewhere else.”
It is so much more sensible to allow advertisers to state clearly what they want rather than having to use euphemisms.
The authorities have attempted to censor free speech down the centuries forcing folk to use code. Instead of putting ‘sex for rent’, it will perhaps change to ‘good deal for the right person’.
It will be immigrants who won’t understand the meaning, wasting everyone’s time moving in and then back out again, somewhat disappointed.
Our third group of landlords are the ones most affected by these new regulations, yet are those most difficult to regulate, and perhaps should be allowed to learn by trial and error.
These are young men who have rented a room, usually with their parents as guarantors and they are effectively looking for a live in girlfriend to share the room with.
In most cases both will learn that bed sharing rarely works with complete strangers.
It is so much better for two people to meet, go on several dates, spend weekends together and realise that moving in is a big step.
Our landlord takes up the story once more;
“A French woman living with us couldn’t get an office job because her English was so poor so she ended up working in a seedy massage parlour.
“Alas, she started to hate men with such a passion that she had to go.
“A young Frenchman came to her rescue. His parents had rented him a bedsit on a shorthold tenancy.
“He was in his early 20’s, she well into her 30’s. The bedsit was tiny with only a single bed. What was he thinking?
“He had to ring his parents up and explain that their fellow countrywoman wanted his flat to herself and hadn’t any money to pay the rent or reimburse them their deposit. And he didn’t have anywhere for himself either.
“I gather his mother explained that his visitor would have to leave, and asked if it would be necessary for her to travel to England to enforce this?
“I’m sure the young man, whilst making many other mistakes in life, will not make that one again,” he said.
Is it really wise for the State to attempt to regulate how men and women meet one and another, and set up home together?