Ever since I ventured to live on my own in a badass metropolis like New Delhi, the road has been fraught with the perils of wrangling with landlords who frown upon the “character” of such girls who live single. I kid you not – it’s been an uphill task every time that I have moved house since most folks are uber suspicious of single women wanting to live on their own.

Okay I get it in some parts that “youngsters” seem to lack responsibilities and might be immature enough to have more fun than they can handle. No one wants to be hauled up in the middle of the night (or any part of the day) due to their tenants making a ruckus in the building or worse sorting out troubles with police/legal matter.

But what I find most ridiculous is the blinker mode of all wannabe landlords who exhibit typical double standard behaviour. They want a high income earner to rent their premises as it ensures big rent and timely payments. They would want their tenant to work in a huge MNC as that shows responsibility. A big plus plus is if they are a couple; with or without kids.

But tell them it’s a single girl who wants to rent out their flat, and suddenly they turn into Mossad agents with their 50 pointer assessment list who want to know the minutest details about you starting from why are you single. I mean just being single guarantees lack of character, desire to have orgies and basically be a slut looking to ruin every married man in your imminent radius.

I can’t tell you of the number of times I have faced such opposition while trying to rent out a house for myself. Worse are the property dealers who will nod their head when you list out your pros/cons but the moment they meet the landlord, start to commiserate on your single status with great gusto.

Most times, the property dealer will repeatedly bemoan the lack of my married self with no progenies in sight either. Once, I was so disgusted that I sarcastically mentioned to him that I will hire them – a husband and kids to satisfy the landlords checklist; just let me know how many kids is sufficient to prop up my moral character in his eyes.

There have been potential landlords who have asked me incredulously that why a single girl needs a three bedroom apartment, all this while their tone will indicate “something is fishy” essence to the conversation. It never crosses their mind that single units or 2 BHK units are not in a great supply in the city as 3 BHK is the preferred buy of 90% of the folks. One man went as far ahead to suggest I would be better off in a PG than “alone” in a flat.

Ending my diatribe with a recent experience of a friend who went through this entire ringamorale for the first time. Her tale is in her words:

“I recently decided to separate from my husband and started looking for a place of my own to rent. Being a mid-senior level employee with an investment fund, I didn’t think it would be that difficult to find an apartment in a cosmopolitan city like Gurgaon. Unfortunately, I forgot the “gaon” in the Gurgaon.

 

I’m a Bengali and a lawyer to boot. Three brokers flatly refused to even help me upon hearing I’m a lawyer. I shut up on the lawyer part after that. Unfortunately, I can’t shut up about my Bengali roots. One broker told me to my face “Aap to bangali ho. Punjabi log to jhagdga nahi karte. App hi ne jhagda kiya hoga pati se.” Another one offered me unsolicited advice to return to my husband.

When I  did manage to see a few houses, most landlords were uncomfortable when I told them about my marital status. One refused to lease his house to me because “Bengalis cook fish which stinks and will cause neighbours to complain”.

In two instances, the  society refused to let a single woman live there, presumably because I would run a brothel from my house (forget the fact that I work long hours and often have late evening/ early morning calls to earn my money legitimately and have little time or energy left after that).

In one instance, the landlady agreed to lease their apartment to me in the morning and accepted the earnest money, only to call me back later in the day to tell me her husband didn’t want to risk a single woman (I’m in my early 30s, but I’m obviously not going to be able to resist seducing her 60 year old pot-bellied hairy-eared husband the moment I see him or so they probably thought).

After 6 weeks of house-hunting and changing brokers 3 times, I finally found the apartment where I am currently living. The broker advised me to inform the landlord that I am unmarried, which I did. However, I was very uncomfortable with lying about  this fact and decided to tell him the truth. The broker intervened and painted a sad story of an “äbla naari” after which I finally managed to sign the lease.”

Do you have any such story to share with me? What’s your experience of renting a place of your own?

About Shalzmojo

An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.

Pls do check out my post on Home

This post is written for the December bloghop #mymojo with Shalzmojo

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In search of a home [Guest Post by Shalini]
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21 thoughts on “In search of a home [Guest Post by Shalini]

  • December 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm
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    That must be frustrating, Shalini! It infuriates me when I hear such things. In fact, I think, some housing societies put up notices that single women are not allowed to look for rented accommodation, at all! Disgusting, isn’t it? And, the people who form such perceptions call themselves, what, “sanskari”?

    Reply
    • December 16, 2017 at 9:13 pm
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      Oh yes Shilpz this is frustrating and that too in a city making tall claims about being a cyber city!!! Its called the millenium city too in the Delhi NCR circles – bollocks and hogwash in my opinion!!! And yes disgusting to come across this mentality! What to do yaar – its become a part of my life!!!

      Reply
      • December 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm
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        See? That “What to do yaar – its become a part of my life” says how all of it has toughened you, Shalz! I know it’s a difficult situation you find yourself in, but it makes me look up to you for being so courageous, you know?
        Hugs!

        Reply
  • December 11, 2017 at 5:13 pm
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    Must have been very daunting! I do know some people judge way to much!

    Reply
  • December 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm
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    That is the most harrowing house rental I ever had! But great job penning it down.

    Reply
  • December 6, 2017 at 12:04 am
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    Unbelievable! This is ridiculous! Sorry that you had to struggle so much just to find a place you can call home. But thanks for sharing your story. Where is our world heading?? How does it matter where we are from, what are marital status is? Arrghhh…

    Reply
    • December 16, 2017 at 9:20 pm
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      Yes Adi how does it matter? but unforutnately these are the barometers for society to judge our morality against!! Sigh!!! Progressive country and India – when????? 😉

      Reply
  • December 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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    These are the challenges with which we are speeding towards the future of our country!!! It’s really sad that single men are trusted but not single women…

    Reply
    • December 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm
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      I am not sure if single men are trusted too – there is this general prejudice against single ppl that they willl bring about nuisance via their lifestyle of parties and sex 😉

      Reply
    • December 16, 2017 at 9:18 pm
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      Yes Anagha thats the big question no? Sad and frustrating but thats the way things are in our hypocritical society!!!

      Reply
  • December 5, 2017 at 12:25 pm
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    Ah! Such a pain you had to go through indeed 🙁
    My friends and I went through something similar when we 3 girls decided to move into a flat from a PG. The first thing you hear from a landlord is No males / boyfriends/ friend who is male are allowed inside the premises. They seem to miss out on the point that the solo reason why any single female or male decide on renting a flat is that we have that extra comfort of inviting friends over which is not possible if we stay in a PG! When ever we changed a house we usually had to go through the pain of visiting number of houses before actually finding that one place to live. It was very tiring and humiliating to one front because of the questions the land lords dare to ask!

    Reply
    • December 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm
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      My cousin went through a similar experience recently in Mumbai. But ultimately decided to stay with 2 of her colleagues as it was too difficult to find acco alone

      Reply
    • December 16, 2017 at 9:14 pm
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      Ohhh Keerthi thats tough indeed and can be so tedious at times! It seems all propriety is vested in married people only. Hugs from one sufferer to another on this!!! 🙂

      Reply

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