Sleazy landlords

PHOTO: Sleazy landlords are offering cheap or free rental in exchange for sex as Perth’s rental crisis worsens. Photo credit: Getty Images

AUSTRALIA: Seedy landlords are increasingly offering free or discounted rent in exchange for sex via classified advertisements in Perth as the city’s rental crisis continues to spiral out of control.

It’s understood the exploitative practice is taking place in most major cities across Australia, with unsavoury landlords offering rent-for-sex arrangements in personal classifieds.

A number of classifieds can be found advertising ‘free rent for services’ on community websites such as Locanto, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, the West Australian reports.

Offers for the sordid exchange are reportedly reaching record levels in Perth as the city’s rent crisis continues to worsen.

Residents are battling one of the most competitive rental markets Perth has experienced in decades, with rental availability at its lowest point in 40 years in the Western Australian capital.

People are becoming entrenched in the city’s social housing system, perpetuating cycles of poverty as some tenants cannot earn more than AU$28,000 per year in order to be eligible, ABC reports.

The vacancy rate in the Perth metropolitan area improved slightly earlier this year, but remains just above record lows – at 1 percent in April – according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

Since an emergency moratorium on rent increases – implemented amid the pandemic by state Premier Mark McGowan – ended in March, rental prices have increased significantly.

“The lifting of the moratorium on rents and evictions has left a new swath of the WA community exposed to housing stress,” Michelle Mackenzie, the chief executive of Shelter WA, told ABC in May.