Been Trying to Rent A Home Since 2019 as Landlords Refuse Muslims

Several of my friends have faced similar problems.

Published
My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

I have been hunting for a house in Delhi since October 2019. Albeit futile, it has been a learning process at the least. This is because my name is Mariya Salim.

When the owners find out that the person who’s wanting to rent out their places is a ‘Muslim’, they either stop answering phone calls of the brokers or outright say ‘no Muslim tenants’. This is not just a personal experience. Several of my friends have faced similar problems owing to their religious identity.

  • Here’s how conversations with brokers go.
  • Flat-owners deny renting to Muslim tenants. 
  • Here’s how conversations with brokers go.

This, when I do not have clear identity markers. I can only imagine what happens when a sister of mine goes looking for a place with a hijab on. I think they will not even let them enter their spaces.

The effects are also felt elsewhere. To hide my religious identity, I had to also change my name on cab aggregator services. I changed it from Mariya to Maya as there have been times when the taxi drivers have asked if I am “Mohammedan”.

As a single girl who’s coming back from work, protests, and other things, it’s extremely difficult. I worry for my safety.

With the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, there is talk of people having to leave the country. And here I am, trying to look for a house!

This kind of discrimination makes me depressed. It makes me angry to not be able to live a life of dignity. I have grown up in a Muslim ghetto all my life and I am working really hard to want to move to a place where there are basic amenities and infrastructure. To not able to do that because somebody feels that I don’t deserve it because of who I am and in what religion I follow is angering. One can only hope better sense prevails.

Some people tell me, “Oh! We are non-vegetarians, we face the same” or “we are musicians and people have the same problem with us.”

To those people I would like to say: As musicians, you can hide your guitar, as non-vegetarians you can lie about your food habits. As a Muslim, I cannot hide my identity. My name is Mariya Salim and I will always be Mariya Salim.

(The author is a human rights activist and researcher. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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