A student lettings agency has come under fire for advertising a house offering a female university student cheap rent in return for ‘special favours’. The advert posted by Studenttenant.com was for a two bed terrace house in Birmingham, priced at just £100 a month. The advert said: ‘2 bedroom property available to female student close to Longbridge station which is 20 minutes to Selly Oak Station.
‘Property is available on a reduced rent for special favours to be discussed.’ The property offered two furnished bedrooms, a parking spot, a garden, and was specifically advertised at university students.
The advert was also posted on Student Tenants own website, RightMove and Zoopla before being removed. For similar properties in the area advertised to students, prices start at £368 per month for a double bedroom in a shared house. The new phenomenon, dubbed ‘sex for rent’ see landlords offer free or heavily discounted accommodation in return for another form of payment.
As many as 250,000 women in the UK claim they have experienced a landlord asking for sexual favours in exchange in free or cheap rent. The YouGov poll of female tenants was commissioned by the housing charity Shelter and found that 190,000 women say they were propositioned by prospective landlords in the last year. On Twitter, astonished students said this was ‘outrageous’ and ‘preys on economically vulnerable students.’ Others spoke of how women who are struggling for money may feel forced to accept places like this because they are unable to afford anywhere else.
Student Tenant says the advert has now been reported to police and they removed it as soon as they became aware of it.
On its website, the company says it offers ‘a fantastic platform for landlords to advertise their properties, and give students the tools to easily find and book them online.’ A RightMove spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘As soon as we became aware of this property listing we immediately removed it from Rightmove. ‘We’ve spoken with the agent advertising the property who have confirmed that they’re carrying out a full investigation, and we’re carrying out a full review of this agent as this is clearly unacceptable and in breach of Rightmove’s terms.