My Dubai Rent: freelancer pays Dh30,000 after swapping Marina flat share for studio

Mouna Ramdani pays the same annual rent for her own apartment and will use the extra space to start fostering cats

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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 Mouna Ramdani moved to Dubai a year ago, she decided to put down roots in the busy Marina area.

But after eight months sharing a flat with two roommates, she decided it was time to get her own place.

Having never lived on her own before, she opted to move inland to Al Ghaf 1 in Arjan, as it was more affordable and in a quieter part of town.

For the price she was paying for a bedroom in Dubai Marina, she now has a whole studio to live and work from. She didn’t have to compromise on price for the extra space.

Working as a freelance digital marketer, 24-year-old Mouna said she spends 80 per cent of her time at home either working or producing content for her growing social media brand.

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

Where do you live?

I moved to Arjan in February after spending quite a few months in Dubai Marina, which was very busy.

Tell us about your property

I live in a studio with a balcony and I adore having that outdoor space. The only thing that I don’t love is the fact the balcony backs on to a street, so it’s not very private.

The layout of the studio is quite typical to most that you'll find in the city. The kitchen is the first thing you see when you enter through the front door, then the room opens up into a big living and sleeping area.

I live on the second floor of a low rise building, which is something I purposely looked for when flat hunting. When I lived in the Marina I was staying on a high floor and during peak times it would sometimes take 20 to 30 minutes to wait for the lift to arrive. I was not a fan of that.

How much do you pay for the studio?

It’s Dh30,000 a year, so Dh2,500 a month. With bills on top I pay about Dh3,700 which is the same amount I was paying for my previous accommodation. I love the fact that I got all this extra space to myself but didn’t have to pay extra in rent.

Have you lived on your own before?

No. I did flat share with a friend in London when I was at university but this is the first time I’ve ever stayed on my own. So far I am loving it as I get to make all my own decisions about the property and nobody eats my food. I changed the whole layout of my studio just to tie in with the aesthetic in my head. I love the fact that I can do that and I don’t have to consult with a roommate first.

Why did you move from a busy neighbourhood to a quieter one?

Mouna still has plenty of amenities on the doorstep in Arjan. Antonie Robertson / The National

When I first moved to Dubai I chose the Marina as I had heard a lot about it and it seems to be the place that most young people move to when they first land here. I remember it was tourist season when I arrived and I just felt quite suffocated. There were so many people about all the time and so much traffic, it just wasn’t for me.

I love Arjan as it’s only 20 minutes away from Downtown Dubai, which is where most of my clients are, and there are plenty of amenities like salons, supermarkets and cafes.

The only bugbear I have is that there is no mosque in the area, which, as a Muslim, is a bit of a problem. I travel to Motor City once a week to the mosque there but if there was one here I would visit more often.

Another driving factor as to why I moved was that I wanted to foster cats and I couldn’t do that in my other flat. I have a cat staying with me now and it’s the third one I’ve had since moving in February. He has his own corner of the room with his bed and toys and I love that.

How have you made your house a home?

I’d say my style is quite minimalist, so there is a lot of grey and white in the apartment because I like a clean aesthetic. I haven’t really got any items from home or things from my travels but I have tried to accent the place with some gold decorative pieces. I’m still very new to the apartment and could probably make it more homely in time. I’ve kept in very open plan as I think if I started segmenting sections off it would feel too closed off.

How did you find the apartment?

My friend lives in the same building and she referred me on to her agent. This was the first studio I looked at and I fell in love with it straight away. It has a great pool and gym and the building has a lot of young people living in it. At the weekend people tend to gather around the pool area, so it’s very sociable.

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Updated: June 13, 2022, 6:10 AM
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