A Single female Cannot Rent a House

obioma nwachukwu
Posted October 8, 2020 from Nigeria

Oh what an experience! Came to the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Got a good job. Was financially boyant as that could afford a room over my head, yet could not get one just because I am a female.

It might surprise one to know that in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, many landlords vehemently would not rent their houses to a single young lady, not because she has committed any crime, not that she cannot afford the rent, not for any reason but because she is a female. 

I came to Lagos as a single lady, had well paid job. Of course, I put up with my uncle and his family in their one room apartment which was not conducive for them not to talk of me joining the family in one room. Quite inconveniencing! Though I was new in the city, the next month I asked my uncle to start looking for accommodation for me that I am ready for it. Here I got the greatest shock. The reports my uncle and his friends got while in search of accommodation for me was 'we don't give houses to single ladies'. It took the next seven months for my uncle to get house from a caretaker who gave the following conditions that: My uncle's name would be on the receipt not mine. My uncle must sign an undertaken on my behalf since I'm a woman. Every agreement paper  concerning the rent must be signed by my uncle, and a lot more. Otherwise he will not rent the house to me a single lady.

Without my good uncle, who accepted all the rigorous conditions given to him on my behalf for just a single room, I would not have gotten accommodation in Lagos just because I am a woman. 

Now I ask, is it a crime to be a female child? Why are we being treated as second class citizens? When will the menfolk realize that we are also fellow citizens of our nations. Why do they see themselves so high a superior being than the female. Quite unfortunate!

I urge every sister here encourage yourself and every woman around you to rise up to her potentials. Stand tall and make life conducive for yourself. Do not wait for the men before you do something good for yourself and family. If you can build house for yourself, please do, if you can train your children to the highest level especially the female please do. If we do not raise our heads, the men are ready to crush us. Yet, if you are in the position to help them, please do, let them know that we are for good of everybody. Let them be assured that we are complementing them not competing with them. Let them realize that we are of great value in the society, our space should be given to us adequately. 

Sisters, let us assure ourselves that we cannot be easily intimidated or crushed for in unity we can change the world.

Obioma Nwachukwu.

This story was submitted in response to My Voice, Our Equal Future.

Comments 5

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Paulina Nayra
Oct 09, 2020
Oct 09, 2020

Dear Obioma,
That practice is absurd, excuse me for the term. Parents are working hard to get their children proper education and for girls to get a job or be in business so they can be financially independent. So why on earth are they not allowed to have their own place. Women must join hands to own a place and have it rented by women. That, is if it is allowed by Nigerian laws. So time for the womenfolk to look at the laws and have that absurd policy abolished. Find a champion. Work with women's rights organizations. It may not be an easy road but a road worth taking. Otherwise, girls will have to depend on an uncle and who knows what that dependence do to her.

Good luck Obioma.

Nini Mappo
Oct 09, 2020
Oct 09, 2020

Dear Obioma,
This is shocking treatment for being a woman. I have never heard of such a thing before, and I wonder what the thinking behind that might be. Is it the law? Is it preference? We should have more women owning properties, then they can lease to women without discrimination.

Sabiha Hasan
Oct 10, 2020
Oct 10, 2020

Yes you are right, I m from India, Asia. Same is here , we can get rented apartment but we maybe target for sexual abuse by neighbors and landlord.

Laetitia Shindano
Nov 13, 2020
Nov 13, 2020

Chère Obioma
C'est vraiment dommage que les filles et femmes soient encore traitées
comme des enfants par des hommes imbus des préjugés. Je pense que la meilleure chose à faire est de dénoncer cette discrimination aux autorités et non se résigner.

Sister Zeph
Dec 14, 2020
Dec 14, 2020

My dear Obioma, I am sorry that you had to face it actually this happens in many countries but it hurts always. As a single woman I have to face such challenges a lot but you are right we must fight back for our rights and dignity. So proud of your strength