A Cork housing charity has confirmed it has been contacted by people whose landlords have sought sex instead of rent.
Threshold’s admission comes just days after the Dail heard a person in Dublin was offered free accommodation in exchange for sex.
The issue was raised by Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger who blamed the government’s failure to provide an adequate amount of housing and address house and rent prices across the country.
Speaking to The Echo, Edel Conlon, regional manager of Threshold Cork, said: “Clients do contact us on rare occasions with stories of this nature.
“While the evidence on these cases is anecdotal, our view is that this behaviour is unacceptable and that tenants in this type of situation should report it to the Gardaí and seek legal advice.” Cork TD Mick Barry (Solidarity) is to meet with Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy today (Tuesday), along with Deputy Ruth Coppinger, at the Minister’s invitation to discuss Deputy Coppinger’s revelations.
The case in question concerned a young woman who was offered reduced rent or free accommodation by her landlord on condition that she entertained his sexual advances.
Deputy Barry told The Echo that the fact that the invitation had been issued by Minister Murphy was a “tacit acknowledgement by Government that the case was not merely a Justice issue but was closely connected with the housing crisis which the Government is responsible for” .
He said: “Last week the Government tried to make out that this was nothing to do with the housing crisis but this week the Minister who meets the deputies that raised the matter is the Housing Minister himself.
“This is a tacit acknowledgment that the housing crisis is a real factor in this situation,” he added.
Deputies Barry and Coppinger will today demand that the State compile statistics on the prevalence of sex for rent demands and provide a hotline for tenants dealing with this situation.
They will also call for action on real rent controls and anti-eviction legislation.
Deputy Barry accused the government of attempting to bury his anti-eviction bill, which passed in the Dail, at the committee stage.
“This is the type of legislation that needs to be passed to reduce the power imbalance between landlords and tenants and to protect vulnerable tenants in cases such as this,” he said.