When a guest she was interviewing admitted that he offers free accommodation to women in exchange for sex, This Morning’s Holly Willoughby was quick to educate him on the Sexual Offences Act.
A recent study revealed that over 250,000 women have had a landlord ask them for sex or sexual favours over the last five years. And, in the last year, 3% of female renters had been offered sex for rent – a number that equals around 139,314 women in the last 12 months alone.
In a bid to explore the issue further, ITV’s This Morning invited a landlord – who offers free accommodation in return for sex – on to the show.
The man, whose identity was concealed from viewers, claimed he did not see anything wrong with his “friends with benefits” arrangement.
“I offer them a life,” he insisted of his tenants, “which is more than a fully stocked fridge.”
The landlord, using the alias of ‘Simon’, went on to insist that he has had “three long-term arrangements” under these rules so far. However, Holly Willoughby was quick to interject and correct his terminology.
“Tenants,” she said bluntly.
“They aren’t tenants,” Simon argued back. “It’s an arrangement. They are still in touch with me. I’m not a pervert. It’s an arranged relationship. I have a fantastic life and I just want to share it.
“I’m seeking fun. If they were not having fun, I wouldn’t be there. You have to get along. I’m just being upfront saying what I have and what I have to offer.”
The landlord, who has young daughters, said “there are a lot of 15, 16 and 17-year-olds who contact me on a regular basis” but said he was not interested.
“I’m very forward and honest and I don’t tell lies. I have been married and I have a family. But I find that modern day relationships do not work and if they do they only work for a short period of time.
“Most females lie. The same as most males do,” he added. “They are working to an agenda whereas I don’t, I’m very honest, I’m very upfront.”
However, Willoughby was unwilling to let Simon dictate the narrative of the discussion, and made a point of bringing up the legality of the situation.
“But when someone offers accommodation in return for sex … they are causing another person to have sex in return for payment, a breach of the Sexual Offences Act provides a maximum sentence of seven years,” she said.
Simon argued back: “It’s an arrangement between two adult human beings. I’m not looking for a 16-year-old, an 18-year-old, I want someone of my own age. I’m not looking for somebody that’s vulnerable, and if somebody is vulnerable, I wouldn’t be interested.”
He added: “I’m doing nothing wrong.”
A visibly unimpressed Willoughby cut him off, insisting: “But you are.”
The presenter’s comments did not go unnoticed by viewers, with many taking to Twitter to praise Willoughby for refusing to let Simon sugar-coat his “dangerous” and “predatory” behaviour.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, previously told stylist.co.uk that sexual harassment by landlords is “yet another situation where men with power are too easily able to abuse women with none”.
“There is a shortage of housing, rents are unaffordable and there are few protections against eviction, so women who rent are often not in a position to take action against the minority of landlords who do cross a line,” she said.