I would like to take a humble step backwards and retract my previous statement that I felt it was the male landlords that seemed to be taking the lead on stereotyping single mom tenants and not giving us a fair chance.
I recently responded to a post on Craigslist for a lovely home in Comox. The landlady was looking for an individual who could maintain the yard; perfect I thought, she’s looking for me — I love gardening.
After my initial email of interest, I received one back from her, asking about the size of my small family. I knew this was coming of course so I was straightforward in my response and even included the ages of my children (I’d never done that before).
Her response offended me in every way possible that I thought it was worth sharing. In her e-mail, she said:
“Our single mom renters never kept the outside of the house and garden clean and tidy. Most couldn’t maintain the outside house after their work, kids, home cleaning, vehicle maintenance, personal maintenance and social life. Some didn’t know how to do simple repairs or couldn’t care less about learning. Perhaps you are the exception, but in the 20 years of having rentals I have never seen it and neither have my landlord friends.”
I am not sure what personal maintenance is. I can only guess it means showering, which I can assure you I do regularly, but it doesn’t take all day.
Social life, which one would that be? The one at my baby’s play group or the one while I go for walk with my son? I make sure I say hello to everyone that passes.
What bothered me most was that I felt like she was calling me a liar and included her friends to back up her accusation. My favourite part of her e-mail, though, was her insinuation that my children were not planned; possibly a product of that social life I have, and that I should really have had a plan A and B to ensure that I could provide a roof over my children’s head. How odious.
She gives some final words of advice for me and other single moms out there.
“We like to see that as a single parent you can maintain a family, a home, vehicle, all bills and unexpected expenses in life and have a steady way of financing them.”
Maintaining a family takes two adults, picking up the pieces and soldiering on takes one strong adult. I guess, ladies, we should be washing our cars, bringing recent paid bills, pictures of our maintained current and recent homes, recent T4 slips, maybe even our tax summary, and last but not least our maintained family to the viewing of perspective homes for rent.
Maybe then we might have some sort of chance.
As of May 18 I have yet to secure a home.