In a chat with BBC, three women shared their struggles with renting an apartment in Nigeria because of their single status. According to a landlord, men make up most of his tenants because they have money and there are more jobs for men than women in Nigeria. To him, most single ladies are under the responsibility of their parents or lover.
They share their stories,
30-year old Olufunmilola moved from Lagos after she got a job with the Ogun state government. For five months, she struggled to find an apartment because she was single.
“In this part of the world, if you are not married then you are a prostitute. The first question the landlord would ask me is if I’m married? I’d say ‘No’, and they’d follow with, ‘Why not?’
What does my marital status have to do with me getting a place to live in? Ninety-nine per cent of the landlords I met did not want to rent to me because I am a single woman. Most landlords and agents would tell me, ‘Can you bring your boyfriend or your husband?’ In these kinds of apartments, we don’t like boys coming in. We just want decent people.”
Landlords refused to meet 31-year old Oyinda until she showed up with her fiancé.
“There is a saying ‘small girl, big god’ that describes young single women who rent alone or squat with other females. The saying refers to single women who have sponsors, typically older men, who pay their rent. The three landlords I met all refused to show me their apartments. They would tell me, ‘Don’t bother.’”
25-year old Yinka, who relocated from New York to Lagos in May 2016 to pursue a career as a TV presenter, was told that she couldn’t rent an apartment until her father gives his consent.
“There were landlords who said they did not want to rent to me until they had spoken to my father to make sure that he was OK with it, even though I was paying with my own money. My opinion didn’t matter. The landlords try to police women.”