My Dubai Rent: New arrivals pay Dh4,000 a month for busy flat-share in Marina

Paul and Niamh love the social aspect of living with seven people in a five-bedroom apartment

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they pay each month, see who they live with and ask what they like and don't like

Since moving to Dubai 10 months ago, Paul McCoy lived in two hotels, one apartment and crashed at a friend’s house before deciding on somewhere more permanent to live.

Paul, a marketing and business development manager, finally set down roots in Dubai Marina with his partner Niamh, a nursery teacher, in November.

The couple, from Ireland, share their 25th floor apartment in Horizon Tower with five friends and love the social aspect of being in a busy house share.

Having never lived out of the family home and fed up with the hum drum of life in Ireland during the midst of the pandemic, Paul, 23, said the move to Dubai was a last-minute decision, but one he doesn’t regret.

Here, he invites The National into his home from home.

How much do you and Niamh pay to live here?

We rent a double room for Dh4,000 a month, so we only pay Dh2,000 each. It’s about 25 per cent of my basic salary because I rely a lot on commission, but for the area it’s a great deal.

So what exactly do you get for what you pay?

There’s seven of us in the apartment and three of the rooms are en suite. Ours isn’t, but we share our bathroom with one other person, so it’s no bother at all. All of our bills are included, so that’s Wi-Fi, air con, water and electricity. The room was partly furnished too, with a double bed, chest of drawers and plenty of wardrobe space. We also have a cleaner who comes in every day, but the only thing she doesn’t do is clean the dishes, sadly!

Do you think it’s a good deal?

Absolutely. It definitely helps that the costs are split between two of us.

Why did you choose to flat-share?

Look, we’re Irish and we love to socialise. It was always in our minds to share because we were new to the city and wanted to enjoy the social aspect of living with other people. It’s great because if one person wants a quiet night in, there’s always someone else willing to go out for the night.

I love it after 5pm when we’ve all finished work for the day, there’s a real buzz around the apartment, it really comes to life.

Do you have plans to save money and rent a place for just the two of you?

Nope. We love sharing. I know it is some people's idea of a nightmare, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I think who you live with makes a big impact on the experience you have and how long you stay. If our current roommates moved out and the dynamic of the apartment changed, that’s the only thing that would make us think twice about staying here.

What are the downsides to sharing an apartment with so many people?

Honestly, not that many. I guess dishes being left in the kitchen and old food sitting in the fridge, that can get a bit smelly, but I think you sign up for that kind of thing when you decide to flat-share. Queuing for the washing machine can be a pain sometimes, but again, that’s part and parcel of living with a lot of people.

The couple are happy to share a bustling apartment with five other people. Victor Besa / The National

How have you made your space your own?

Well that’s mostly down to Niamh. She’s put up fairy lights in the bedroom and we have pictures of us, friends and family all over the bedroom. I’ve also added my own desk to the room as I work from home a lot, so it’s a separate space to work from.

The apartment itself is quite bare. We have cleaners and maintenance people coming in and out of the apartment regularly, so it’s just easier to keep our things in our bedrooms. We each have a lock on our bedroom door.

What do you think of the area?

We loved the feel of the Marina as soon as we moved here. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where I can walk out my front door and be on the beach within four minutes. We’ve got a Metro station right on our doorstep too.

We actually rented a car when we first came out here but we don’t bother now as we can jump on the metro and get to most places easily, so that saves us a lot of money on car rental. I just love the buzz in the Marina. It’s full of life, there’s plenty of places to eat and drink and we have the Marina Mall literally hundreds of metres from the building.

How did you find the flat?

I looked at a few places on Dubizzle and I’m a member of a few different Facebook groups for expats and saw the landlord’s contact details online.

He showed us a few apartments in the building we’re living in now and I told him I had a few friends moving over and if he had an apartment big enough I could fill it for him. After about a month this place became vacant and we all moved in.

We pay the rent individually via bank transfer or cash at the beginning of each month.

Are there any problems with the apartment you have to deal with?

There hasn’t been anything major that’s happened. There was a leak once in the maid’s room, which one of our friends rents, so the maintenance guys had to switch the water off for a few hours. That was slightly inconvenient but not that big of an issue.

Updated: March 14, 2022, 9:23 AM