Bill making ‘sex for rent’ propositions a criminal offence introduced in Dáil

Minister for Housing recently said he had received advice from Attorney General on issue

Legislation that would make it a criminal offence for landlords to seek sex in exchange for rent was introduced to the Dáil on Tuesday.

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan brought forward the Ban On Sex for Rent Bill 2022, which seeks to create an offence for requesting or accepting sex as a condition of providing accommodation.

It also proposes an offence for anyone, including publishers, of facilitating the requirement or acceptance of sex as a condition of accommodation.

The penalties outlined in the legislation include a fine of €50,000 and/or up to seven years imprisonment. The Bill is now due to be read a second time and debated by TDs.


There is currently no specific criminal offence for the practice of landlords offering free or reduced rent in exchange for sex.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said last week that he had received advice from the Attorney General on the issue and that he and Minister for Justice Helen McEntee we considering "the best legislative vehicle to deal with this matter".

Mr O'Callaghan said gardaí had informed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage that the Pulse system does not record sex for rent complaints as a specific category.

‘Depraved depths’

“This is not surprising, as the practice is not a specific criminal offence in legislation currently,” he said. “This practice shows the depraved depths of the housing crisis, where a small minority of grossly exploitative landlords expect sexual favours in return for putting a roof over people’s heads.”

The Dublin Bay North TD said it was “an abhorrent practice” and no one should be subjected to “these kind of demands when they are looking for somewhere to live”.

“It is particularly worrying that migrants, who often have reduced access to support networks, information and advice, have been targeted in particular,” he said.

"Unfortunately, no comparable research has been done in Ireland, but research done in the UK by the housing and homeless charity Shelter suggests that 30,000 women in the UK were propositioned for sex in lieu of rent between March 2020 and January 2021, which is a period of less than a year. That shows the extent of the problem."

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times