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Rightmove apologises after 'sex for rent' advert appears on site


Rightmove has apologised after a "sex for rent" advert appeared on its website, causing an outcry among charities and MPs.

The advertisement was aimed at a female student, and said "reduced rent is available for special favours to be discussed."

The two-bedroom terraced house in Birmingham was priced at £100 per month, and posted by Student Tenant on Rightmove's site.

After widespread outrage that the advertisement has been placed on a seemingly reputable lettings website, Rightmove said it will be reviewing its vetting process.

Local MP Jess Phillips, who used to work for a domestic violence charity, said Rightmove needed to tighten its regulations so exploitative prospective landlords could slip through the cracks.

She told The Telegraph: "Rightmove is a site I use myself and is well-respected by most people who would be horrified to think that it was being used like this. It is a huge breach of trust."

A spokesperson for the Rape and Sexual Violence Project said: "There’s no doubt that listings sites like Rightmove ought to be doing more to regulate their adverts. There are exploitative landlords abusing their financial control over people for sexual gain.

"This is sexual exploitation, pure and simple. ‘Sex for rent’ is not new, but it does seem to be increasing.

"Rightmove will know this and so should be actively looking for warning signs, not waiting for the public to raise the alarm."

A Rightmove spokesperson said: “As soon as we became aware of this property listing we immediately removed it from Rightmove. We’ve spoken with the agent advertising the property who have confirmed that they’re carrying out a full investigation, and we’re carrying out a full review of this agent as this is in breach of Rightmove’s terms.

"We’re carrying out a full review of our vetting process. This property listing is clearly unacceptable."
However, the company admitted that adverts were moderated after being set live on the site - not before - and that it is up to agents and businesses to ensure their listings comply with the terms.

The spokesperson added: "All Rightmove advertisers must ensure their property listings are fully checked before they go live on Rightmove. All businesses are vetted in person before they can become a Rightmove advertiser."

Accommodation service Student Tenant said the advert had been reported to police and removed as soon as they became aware of it.

On its website, the company says it offers "a fantastic platform for landlords to advertise their properties, and given students the tools to easily find and book them online."
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