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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Sex for rent: Coppinger tells Dáil of Rathmines landlord who propositioned tenant

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that the situation outlined by Coppinger “sounds disgusting”.

ruth1 Solidarity-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger Source: Oireachtas

A YOUNG WOMAN living in Rathmines was propositioned by her landlord who told her she could stay rent-free “if we agree something”, the Dáil has heard. 

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger raised the matter today and urged the government to collate statistics and take action on landlords who attempt to exploit their tenants in this manner. 

“So insane has the housing crisis become… and so much power you’ve left in the hands of landlords that sex for rent is becoming a reality for many tenants,” she said. “We don’t collate data in this country.”

Coppinger said she’d been in contact with a young woman who was renting a “bedsit in all but name” in the Rathmines area in Dublin who was a victim of this and detailed some of the text message conversations the tenant had with her landlord.

When she said she couldn’t afford to stay and keep paying the rent, Coppinger said the landlord replied: “Are you coming to live with me in my house?”

The woman replied asking if he was being serious, and the landlord said he was and suggested she pay half the rent and the pair go for dinner together to “see what happens”. 

When she refused, Coppinger said the landlord replied: “I’ll make you a better offer. You can stay here for free until Christmas if we can agree something.”

She said:

I seriously think it’s high time we collated data in this country. You’ve allowed a situation where young women in very vulnerable situations – thankfully she was able to move on – could be put under undue stress and pressure because the landlords rule in this Dáil and you’ve done nothing about it. 

A YouGov poll of female tenants in the UK last year estimated that 250,000 women had been offered free or reduced rent in exchange for sexual favours in the past five years, the BBC reported.

There are no such comparable statistics in Ireland. 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy replied that the case outlined by Coppinger “sounds disgusting and a horrible thing for someone to have to go through”. 

He said that the government had introduced significant reforms to provide greater security for tenants earlier this year but said in this case it sounded like it should be a matter for the gardaí as it was a criminal matter. 

Murphy said that he would speak to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan about what might be possible in relation to these type of situations women may find themselves in. 

“It’s reprehensible,” he added. 

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Sean Murray

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