Sometimes it seems that barely a week goes by without one of the major newspapers poking landlords for moral infractions which threaten the balance of the nation’s ethical compass.
Last year, 2017, was all about the so-called rogues cramming dozens of immigrants into one bedroom flats and refusing to repair the roof. Four months into 2018, and it looks like ‘sex for rent’ is the go-to transgression for the ne’er do well property owner of distinction.
ITV aired an investigation in January exposing Cardiff landlords who were willing to take payment, ‘in kind’. The Times followed up in February with an expose on how landlords are exploiting the housing crisis to get their ends away (landladies are not mentioned in the article). March saw the great bastions of both British and Russian journalism weighing in on the scandal, with articles from the BBC and even Russia Today both pointing to the moral corruption of the 21st century British landlord. While in early April, the Guardian eventually caught up, pouring carefully measured outrage not only onto the property owners, but also on the police for failing to prosecute, charge, or even arrest, anyone involved.
Here at rent.works, we were shocked by the articles – unable to believe that our fellow professionals would stoop to such a level.
Were we shocked that consenting adults are willing to trade goods and services for other goods and services? Not really. Shocked that people are willing to trade an hour or so of their time in return for accommodation? Nope. That’s the essence of of a trade based society.
Let’s ignore the legality of what these men are proposing. The law in this area is sticky, and we’re not experts on the ins and outs of what they’re proposing.
Take a look at the first link. Here it is again, in case you’re too lazy to scroll up. The gent in question is proposing sex once per week in exchange for living rent free in a one bedroom flat in the Welsh capital. Realistically, you’d be looking at renting out a similar property for between between £500 and £800 per month.
Is a once per week wham-bam-thank you ma’am worth that much in lost rental income? We’d say probably not. A quick look at the postcard adverts near the rent.works office, along with some discrete telephone enquiries reveals that a similar service can be had for a quarter of that amount. From a professional -who presumably knows what she’s doing – not from a single mum who wants to get it over with so she can crack on with the ironing before she picks the kids up from school.
Quoted in the BBC three article is a landlord who offers “free room in return for cooking, cleaning and oral once or twice a week”. OK, so it’s only a room not an entire flat, and the required level of service is a lot higher, but it’s a room in central London. That’s expensive.
The point we’re making is that you’re trying to run a business here. The money that you’re not receiving from rent could go towards your mortgages. It could go towards making repairs. It could go towards a premium Tinder or Grindr account, or wining and dining potential mates. The greasy wads of cash could go towards a weekend away in Ibiza – where you are 100% guaranteed to get some action.
The property business is a business. Make your money first, and then you can spend it on prostitutes.