A new bill could see people jailed for up to seven years for offering rent in exchange for sex.
The Social Democrats 'Ban on Sex For Rent' bill would make it a criminal offence for landlords to demand sex for rent – or accept it should it be offered to them.
The bill would also make it an offence to ‘arrange or facilitate’ sex for rent – meaning publishers would be breaking the law by printing advertisements they know could lead to sex for rent.
People breaking the proposed law would face up to seven years in prison or a €50,000 fine.
The bill is expected to pass unopposed by Government after Cabinet yesterday agreed to accept it.
Sex for rent
Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O'Callaghan told Newstalk the new laws are badly needed.
“Obviously, as the rental crisis is deepening and people are under more pressure, there are people who are trying to exploit that,” he said.
“Also in the last week, we have had reports of ads being placed by landlords looking for sex for rent arrangements with people who are from Ukraine.
“That is a really abhorrent thing to do and we want the Government pass this urgently through all stages in the Oireachtas. We want to send a really strong message about this completely unacceptable behaviour.”
The bill would create and offence of “requiring or accepting sex as a condition of accommodation and an offence of arranging or facilitating the requirement or acceptance of sex as a condition of accommodation”.
Deputy O'Callaghan said he now expects to see the legislation fast-tracked.
“It has already been introduced in the Dáil and we’re hoping it is going to pass second stage today,” he said. “The Government has indicated they are going to support it.
“The aim of the bill is to create a specific criminal offence for anyone that is trying to demand sex in return for rent or for reduced rent.
“It is an abhorrent practice and people who are looking to rent, looking for somewhere safe to live shouldn’t be put through this sort of pressure.”
It comes after the Irish Examiner uncovered a series of online ads offering rental properties in return for sexual favours in Dublin and Limerick.
On Lunchtime Live at the time, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the people behind the ad were “predators” who should be reported to Gardaí.
The issue was first raised in the Dáil by then-Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger back in 2019.
On The Pat Kenny Show last month, a woman who was offered sex for rent three times while looking for a home in Ireland said the experience was disgusting and scary.