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?
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.
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