Sex for Rent: CPS Guidance indicates prosecutions are possible following campaign by Peter Kyle MP, assisted by Cornerstone Barristers

22 Jan 2019

Housing, Licensing

In September 2018 a team from Cornerstone Barristers provided legal advice to Peter Kyle MP concerning the phenomenon of sex for rent, whereby landlords offer free or discounted accommodation in return for sexual services.

The legal advice considered a range of matters including how other jurisdictions are tackling this issue and whether the practice could fall within the scope of the offence of causing or inciting prostitution for gain under Section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The advice considered that the practice does meet the definition under Section 52 and Peter Kyle MP relied on this advice when the matter was debated in Parliament on 28 November 2018. Many MPs condemned the practice during that debate and lamented the recent increase in very blatant sex for rent advertisements that can be seen online.

Since November, the Crown Prosecution Service has updated its guidance on Prostitution and Exploitation of Prostitution, accepting that the provision of accommodation in return for sex is capable of being caught by Section 52. The guidance also provides specific examples as to what types of cases are most likely to be caught within the ambit of the legislation, such as where a homeless or otherwise vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into an arrangement.

Philip Kolvin QC, Tara O’Leary, Ruchi Parekh and John Fitzsimons provided the advice to Peter Kyle MP.

Philip Kolvin QC said: “We are pleased to have advised Peter Kyle MP in relation to his campaign and to see this initial outcome. It is to be hoped that the CPS guidance provides impetus to police forces nationally to enforce the law, to help stamp out this despicable practice.”

Members of Cornerstone Barristers have extensive experience in the fields of housing, licensing and regulation, acting for local and national authorities, private clients and pro bono causes.