My Dubai Rent: mother-of-two negotiates Dh23,000 reduction in rent for villa

Poonam Nnabuogor lives in Jumeirah Park with her two boys, in a property she pays Dh167,500 per year for

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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

When Poonam Nnabuogor moved to Dubai with her husband and two children four years ago, space and convenience was at the top of their list when looking for a new home.

Having moved from a five-bedroom detached house in the UK with a private drive, it was a tough task finding something appropriate.

They eventually settled on a large, three-bed property in Jumeirah Park, complete with its own double garage.

Originally paying Dh190,000 ($51,728) a year in rent for the property, Poonam, a procurement specialist at Dubai Airports, managed to negotiate lower rent before and during the pandemic, knocking the family’s yearly bill down by more than Dh20,000.

Here, she invites The National into her home to take a look around.

Where do you live?

We’re in Jumeirah Park, and we have lived in the same property since we moved here in 2018.

Tell us about the property

It’s a large, three-bedroom villa and it’s really spacious. We have a huge open-plan lounge area downstairs, which opens up into a dining area, and the kitchen is a great size, too. We have a separate storage room or larder on the side of the kitchen, as well as a big utility space and maid’s room.

Upstairs is a separate open lounge area on the landing, which doubles up as my office, and all the bedrooms have an en suite. The extra space is a godsend when you have two growing boys who like to fight over the bathroom.

Outside, we have a large garden which is big enough for the boys to play football or basketball and we have a double garage, too. It doesn’t really compare in size to our family home in the UK but it’s great for what we need here.

How much do you pay for the property?

When we moved here in 2018, we paid Dh190,000 a year for the villa and the following year I negotiated the price down by about Dh10,000. Then Covid-19 hit in 2020 and I managed to further bring down the price. I’m a procurement professional, I negotiate for a living, so I used my skills and managed to get a really good deal.

Right now, I am paying Dh167,500 a year but I know the landlord wants to put the rent up.

Why did you choose this area?

Convenience for the boys, to be honest. It all came down to the location of their school. I have two boys, aged 10 and 13, and when we moved here in 2018, Dubai British School in Jumeirah Park was the only school that had space for both the boys.

When we toured the school, we liked the community and the feel of the area.

I work far from home, over at the airport, and I didn’t want to stress about them commuting to and from school on a bus. I wanted the comfort of knowing they could get to and from their campus easily. It’s about a three or four-minute walk from the front door, which is great.

I think the one downside about the area is that it doesn’t have any communal pools or gyms. One did pop up recently in one of the other districts but it’s a paid-for service.

What I do like about Jumeirah Park is the pavilion, which has a big supermarket and a few restaurants and shops. It’s got everything you need in one place.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

I have tried to integrate more with neighbours, I really have, but people tend to keep themselves to themselves. I’d like it to be more sociable but it’s not the end of the world.

The boys have a good set of friends that live nearby, so it’s good for them at least. And although it’s not a gated community, I feel safe to let them go out and play with friends.

Have you made any changes to the property?

I chose not to do any cosmetic changes to the villa because it’s not my house, I only rent it.

I’ve added cosy furniture to make it more homely but I haven’t painted any walls or upgraded any of the fixtures or fittings. I had some customised curtains made, which I love, but that’s been it really.

I’m quite a minimalist, I don’t like clutter, so the house is tidy and serene. I also bought a La-Z-Boy chair for the corner of the dining area and I’d say that’s my favourite place in the house. It’s where I go for some peace and quiet.

My husband is living back in the UK now, and although it’s just the three of us and the nanny at home, the house can be quite loud at times with two growing, boisterous boys.

Do you plan to stay in the property?

I’m on an unlimited contract so plan to stay in the UAE for as long as I can. It’s a nice life here and it’s important for me that the boys finish school here.

It’s a better education system for them. In terms of staying in the villa, time will tell.

If I can keep the rent at a reasonable rate then yes, I will stay. I was looking to buy somewhere but rents have skyrocketed this year, so I might just invest my money in the UK.

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Updated: June 12, 2022, 4:59 AM