The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today. One woman, unable to pay her April 1 rent after losing her income due to the coronavirus crisis, said she texted a prospective landlord inquiring about a more affordable property. He responded with a dick pic. Another newly unemployed woman said she asked her landlord if she could pay her April rent once she had work again.
'I had no choice': Sex for rent rises with coronavirus poverty
Sex For Rent - Landlord Sexual Harassment on the Rise
By Amber Milne. LONDON Thomson Reuters Foundation - A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as coronavirus lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. Sex for rent has come under growing scrutiny in the United States and Britain in recent years amid spiralling housing costs. Charities have highlighted a rise in online adverts offering rent-free accommodation in exchange for sexual favours. Under the new coronavirus pandemic, millions of people worldwide have lost jobs or income as lockdowns and travel restrictions have forced many businesses to close their doors.
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The other day I assisted a fellow landlord who is also my personal friend take viewings for his vacant rental property. He had 3 viewings lined up for Sunday afternoon. The last and final prospective tenant happened to be a young attractive female. In retrospect, the conversation was extremely cynical, because at the time it never crossed our minds that a hot tenant MIGHT want to actually touch us unless she needed to.
There has always been an imbalance of power in the landlord-tenant relationship. Sexual harassment of a tenant by their landlord is not a new phenomenon. To complicate matters even more, shelter-in-place orders mean that many vulnerable tenants have no escape from the pressures of their predatory landlord and feel captive to their situation. While tenants have a justified fear of their landlord retaliating against them for not giving into their illegal sexual demands, new emergency laws have been adopted to help protect tenants stay in their homes during the pandemic if they cannot pay their rent. Because landlords that sexually harass tenants are typically serial offenders that were engaging in this unlawful behavior before the pandemic, tenants should know what conduct is considered illegal and what they can do about it if they are feeling sexually pressured, intimidated, and harassed at any time during their tenancy.