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Sleeping With The Landlord - Rents So High That's What Women Are Doing

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My landlord's over 60, I'm not gay, and neither's he (or so he says). So no chance there.

But over in France it's a different story...

France's sordid housing crisis

By Jonny Dymond

Europe correspondent, BBC News

It took six months for Liberation journalist Ondine Millot to get to the truth about the most sordid side of France's housing crisis.

Look through some property websites and you can see the advertisements: the phrase you are looking for is contre services - when a room in an apartment is offered, sometimes "free", in exchange for services.

Sometimes the service is perfectly innocent - cleaning the apartment or washing clothes, to defray some of the high cost of renting property.

But sometimes it is not: instead the requests are sexual, demeaning, bordering on the perverse. "Sex twice a month," is one blunt demand. Another asks for someone "open in spirit and elsewhere".

"Flat in exchange for libertine services," goes another.

Property-for-sex

Ondine Millot - who in her day job is the court correspondent for the French daily paper - spent six months researching these advertisements and the people who place them, for an article which exposed the trade in property-for-sex.

Most of the ads ... where no amount was specified for the rent, were men that were looking for sex in exchange for housing.

Ondine Millot, Liberation journalist

"I was very surprised to find out that this kind of thing was going on," she says.

"We called a lot of men, I made something like 50 phone calls. Most of the ads that were 'against services', where no amount was specified for the rent, were men that were looking for sex in exchange for housing."

But the problem is not just hidden away on websites.

Take a quick look through the bookshelves of any decent-sized newsagent, and tucked between the biographies of the former French First Lady and the former American First Lady is the extraordinary account of Laura D.

Her book, My Dear Studies (Mes Cheres Etudes), details the anonymous young woman's slide from being a fresh-faced undergraduate, to a poverty-stricken student, to a 19-year-old selling her body to pay the rent.

"Laura", when I meet her at her publisher's, is charming, if desperately concerned to keep her identity secret, to spare her parents the horror of knowing how their daughter fell.

But she is also angry. It was, she says, the astronomical cost of property that sent her on to the streets.

"Rent was over 70% of my budget," she says.

"Looking at friends, people I know, they live in places that are unhealthy, squalid. Or they negotiate with landlords who rent them rooms and who sometimes abuse them."

Housing Crisis

Sex for rent is the extreme end of an extreme problem which is catching swathes of France's most vulnerable people - the young and the poor - in its grip.

France, the government admits, is in the grip of its worst housing crisis since the end of World War II.

Of course, sky-high property prices are hardly exclusive to France.

But some combination of circumstances has left the French - and especially the Parisian - rental market horribly stretched between supply and demand.

And too many people caught between homelessness and bankruptcy as they struggle to put a roof over their heads.

There are a far higher proportion of properties empty in Paris than in London. As the number sleeping rough has declined in the British capital, it has climbed in the French capital.

In Britain the norm is owner-occupation. While in France rental is seen as the way to live.

Protests

The French Republic was built on street protest. So, unsurprisingly, a new generation of housing protest groups have sprung up to campaign in innovative ways.

Groups such as Jeudi Noir, Droit au Logement and Les Enfants de Don Quichote have grabbed publicity - and, they say, won political concessions - through their protests.

Jeudi Noir is the guerrilla wing of the movement, conducting sting operations on landlords looking for something extra on the side. They also view and film tiny apartments being advertised for extortionate rents.

Les Enfants de Don Quichote left the French government twisting with embarrassment with a mass sleep out in Paris last year, as hundreds of activists and homeless people slept in tents by the Seine.

Droit au Logement, alongside Jeudi Noir, has occupied a former bank right opposite the old Paris stock exchange, just down the road from the Bank of France. It has rechristened the building The Ministry of Housing Crisis, and uses it as both an operational base and a squat.

The groups' actions keep the issue in the public eye.

They know that great stunts are not going to get the million homes that France needs built.

But they also believe that unless the pressure is kept up on politicians local and national, then change will never come.

Christine Boutin, the French Housing Minister, has acknowledged the efforts of the campaign groups and has begun looking at ways to improve the conditions of the rental market.

Crossing Continents on BBC Radio 4 reports on the housing situation in France on Thursday, 13 March at 1100 GMT.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/prog...nts/7290139.stm

Published: 2008/03/12 17:23:56 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

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When I was a student in the eighties (84-91 - so Im including my PhD) my rent was often higher than my income or stipend, epsecially when I was doing my PhD in London, but I never heard of this. Things are even tighter financially for students now, and there are many more (thus many more dodgy landlords), so wouldnt surprise me in the least if it was happening now in the UK. However, what I did come across numerous times as a student (though never directly for me, just me female costudents) was sex for grades etc from tutors and letcherers. Form my observations I would say this is endemic in UK academia.

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If anyone knows of a nice French lady with a place on the Cote d'Azur that she'll let me live in free-of-charge if I give her a regular banging, do let me know!

Will do.

Ad's on the local Gumtree there now, "Former food standards inspector seeks accom, will bang for rent in any room except kitchen."

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Well that blonde is wasting her time as thy're both gay!

So there.

Actually doesn't look too dated considering it was the late 1980s.

I thought only one of them was? Still, same transaction I suppose whether straight or gay. Sadly, not much different a different version of illegals selling themselves to pay trafficking costs a la UK. Everyday, I think we must be close to the lowest level of human civilisation, but then another story brings us nearer to the animals again. :(

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If we can put all joking aside, was I the only one who felt sick to my stomach when I read this article this morning?

It says everything about what is happening in the world today. The rich are richer than ever, while things like this can happen in a supposidly 'developed' country.

Edited by JoeDavola

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When I was a student in the eighties (84-91 - so Im including my PhD) my rent was often higher than my income or stipend, epsecially when I was doing my PhD in London, but I never heard of this. Things are even tighter financially for students now, and there are many more (thus many more dodgy landlords), so wouldnt surprise me in the least if it was happening now in the UK.

It used to happen quite a lot in the 70s when availability of accommodation was much tighter due to the very tenant-friendly laws. The only way landlords could be sure of being able to remove "bad" tenants was to be resident, so you got a lot of Rigsby (Rising Damp) type landlords who were often not above pressurising women, especially if they were late with the rent.

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If we can put all joking aside, was I the only one who felt sick to my stomach when I read this article this morning?

I've spent the last 18 months in Paris and it's one of those urban myths. The center of Paris is crowded (think City of London) so yes, you're average student won't find accomodations there and it would be worrying it he/she did.

The ads do exist just like hundreds of thousands of sexually oriented ads in France because the French are obsessed with it but the truth is there is no sex for room trade. There are simply too many alternatives available.

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I've spent the last 18 months in Paris and it's one of those urban myths. The center of Paris is crowded (think City of London) so yes, you're average student won't find accomodations there and it would be worrying it he/she did.

The ads do exist just like hundreds of thousands of sexually oriented ads in France because the French are obsessed with it but the truth is there is no sex for room trade. There are simply too many alternatives available.

Not quite, prostitution by students is quite common in France, and coincidentally, a German acquaintance who is a journalist tried to do a piece about this sort of flat share in a Northern German student town, the students there live with their "boyfriend" as they can't afford the rents. Unfortunately for her, not many of the students wanted to talk about this, and the social services were well aware of the problem, but no one wanted to go on the record.

Edited by thermo

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How dare they do this sort of thing without proper legal process. They should get their Government approved marriage certificates like everyone else !!

Haha good one! How dare anyone assume some women might trade sexual favours for material gain... ;)

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I thought only one of them was?

Not that it's any of my biz, but this is what Wikipedia says: "His public persona is somewhat effacing. There has been much speculation about his sexuality in the British press. Lowe has remained tightly lipped about the subject whilst Tennant is openly gay. It is widely speculated that Lowe is gay and his close friend Pete Andreas died from AIDS in 1993. Several reports speculated that Lowe himself was HIV positive appeared in the broadsheet press in the mid 90s. Such reports have been firmly dismissed."

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Sex instead of rent?

Any short film makers in HPC?. I have a ten minute film script The Full English on this very subject! A low/no budget, black comedy wherin a young backpacker learns that a damn good breakfast comes with a price tag. It's topical, funny and features both chipolatas and the iconic fried slice. It needs to be made. Get in touch...

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I've spent the last 18 months in Paris and it's one of those urban myths. The center of Paris is crowded (think City of London) so yes, you're average student won't find accomodations there and it would be worrying it he/she did.

The ads do exist just like hundreds of thousands of sexually oriented ads in France because the French are obsessed with it but the truth is there is no sex for room trade. There are simply too many alternatives available.

On the program they did a sting and got a landlord on tape asking for sex, he did not got it but it is depressing that he thought that he could ask for it.

I have seen dodgy ads on gumtree but to be fair they are free flat in return for sex which is not so bad.

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On the program they did a sting and got a landlord on tape asking for sex, he did not got it but it is depressing that he thought that he could ask for it.

I have seen dodgy ads on gumtree but to be fair they are free flat in return for sex which is not so bad.

That's what I've seen too, but it stopped at landlords putting up ads and asking for it.

I did look at those ads on the web 18 months ago (no I wasn't looking for accomodations, pure curiosity, and BTW I'm a chap) and the ads kept being reposted again and again which seemed to indicate the swines weren't getting any success.

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Not quite, prostitution by students is quite common in France, and coincidentally, a German acquaintance who is a journalist tried to do a piece about this sort of flat share in a Northern German student town, the students there live with their "boyfriend" as they can't afford the rents. Unfortunately for her, not many of the students wanted to talk about this, and the social services were well aware of the problem, but no one wanted to go on the record.

Agreed re. prostitution but if you research it you'll fnid that if a girl is ready to prostitute herself she's much better off doing it as a freelancer. Prostituting yourself just in exchange for rent doesn't make sense economically.

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If anyone knows of a nice French lady with a place on the Cote d'Azur that she'll let me live in free-of-charge if I give her a regular banging, do let me know!

I thought you were already poncing off the girlfriend ?

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Agreed re. prostitution but if you research it you'll fnid that if a girl is ready to prostitute herself she's much better off doing it as a freelancer. Prostituting yourself just in exchange for rent doesn't make sense economically.

Yeah, agree, that cash is probably better as freelancer, but with that comes the logistics and dangers of standing on street corners. Living with your "boyfriend" looks/sounds a lot better socially. (Unless he is a balding overweight slob)

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  • 293 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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