Yinka Oladiran says landlords expect a woman to be accompanied by a man

Many landlords in Nigeria suspect single women of being prostitutes, making it difficult for them to rent apartments.

A successful career woman, Olufunmilola Ogungbile, 30, never thought that she would be sleeping on a friend’s couch after five months of apartment-hunting in Abeokuta city in south-western Nigeria.

She had moved from Lagos after securing a good job with the Ogun state government as a project administrator. Despite being financially independent, she struggled to find an apartment in middle and upmarket areas because she was single.

“The first question the landlord would ask me is if I’m married?” Ms Ogungbile said, “I’d say ‘No’, and they’d follow with, ‘Why not’?”

She was often left puzzled.

“What does my marital status have to do with me getting a place to live in?”

Ms Ogungbile said the discrimination was widespread.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the landlords I met did not want to rent to me because I am a single woman,” she told the BBC.

“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.”

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