Sex for Housing Schemes Legal in Finland

Each month, at least one landlord who requests sex in exchange for housing is reported to the Central Union of Tenants. Police say the thinly-veiled request for a prostitute is legal if the tenant is an adult and the landlord does not resort to violence or threats.

Image: Jani Aarnio / Yle

On Monday, YLE Swedish News reported that a landlord had offered a two-room flat in Helsinki in exchange for sex. According to the ad posted on a popular website, rent could be paid with just a few hours of “work” each month.

In an email written to a YLE Swedish News journalist, the landlord said the flat was available to a woman with a good body and soft hands. Among other things, she would have to serve drinks while scantily dressed.

”These are innuendos of how rent could be paid in ways other than cash. The services are asked for in exchange for rent or in addition to rent,” says Ilpo Eerola who works for the Central Union of Tenants.

Sex in exchange for housing schemes are almost exclusively offered to women. Frequently the women are cash-strapped students.

Although the practice is legal in many cases, Eerola says women should contact police if they are approached by a landlord who wants sex instead of cash.

”The police won’t do anything until a crime occurs. However, that's something that could be prevented. That’s why these women should discuss the matter with police in any case,” he says.