House hunting is a nightmare for working women, students

Accommodation is the toughest challenge for those who shift to Delhi, especially single women who have to battle unwilling landlords, lesser house-hunting hours and sometimes lascivious brokers.

Come winter, the situation worsens all thanks to the spate of coaching classes and internships.

Power, food costs up

“A paying guest accommodation that is normally shared by two girls will have three girls in it and there will also be a steep hike in the rent,” said Shubhrastha, who has made this city her home for the past six years. She also said there was a two-fold increase in electricity and food costs.

Gautami Srivastava, who came to the city a couple of weeks ago for an internship, attests to the fact that she ended up paying more for her paying guest accommodation than her friends who came a couple of months back.

The locality of the accommodation too dictates the rents charged, with homes around Patel Nagar, Karol Bagh and other residential areas in Central Delhi costing between Rs.4,500 to Rs.6,000 per person.

Things, however, are surprisingly different in the “student friendly” area of Delhi University’s North Campus.

“A fancy paying guest accommodation with a gym and other facilities sets you back by Rs.15,000,” added Shubhrastha.

Enquires at Kamala Nagar Market close to the university revealed that very few paying guest accommodations were in actual homes.

Most were in buildings that looked more like service lodges with a reception area and a grumpy desk staff.

A room shared by two women in such places can cost around Rs.10,000, while for three it is slightly less but depressingly small. The room typically provides a tiny bed, desk, cupboard and no windows.

Though students in the city for a short while have it bad — working women here to set up home for longer have it worse.

“Expensive holes-in-the-wall”

“I landed here six months ago and joined a working women’s hostel as a temporary arrangement until I could find a good home. Now, after 15 brokers have shown me holes-in-the-wall at incredible prices, I have decided to stay put in the hostel,” said Shweta, who earns Rs.50,000 per month.

Her roommate moved out of her previous apartment four months ago because of termite infestation and is yet to find a decent place.

“There was this broker who showed me a house without a bathroom or kitchen!”

Many others revealed that increasing their budget was a given.

However, it is not all gloom and doom as there are countless women in the city who have found good homes at affordable rent. Some of them revealed a few things that a single girl should keep in mind while house-hunting.

Things to keep in mind

“Although I found good agents through the Internet, it is always better to go physically to neighbourhood property dealers and register oneself. There was this one agent who asked me to meet him in the evening. I went to meet him with a male friend. The agent just disappeared on seeing him and refused to take my calls. It was very suspicious.”

Others suggested cross-checking the previous month’s electricity and water bills to see if they were paid, making sure a proper rental agreement was in place and ensuring there was no miscommunication with the house owner.

However, they all agreed that one should never give up, and that no matter what your taste, budget or relationship status — there is a home for every single woman that came to the city looking to live and live well.

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