Burnt-out teacher quits classroom to set up luxury room rental service in Dubai

No more than three people live in an apartment at any one time and all rooms are en suite

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A former teacher who quit her job to set up her own business said she wants to change the room rental landscape in Dubai.

After teaching in a primary school for five years, Danielle Hall, from the UK, set up iiabud_dubaii, a small-scale co-living rental service.

As an experienced landlord in the UK, she wanted to offer something where people, particularly single women new to Dubai, felt safe and able to forge new friendships.

“I’m just finishing up my last week as a teacher and I’m on my knees health wise. The workload is huge,” she said.

They are all three-bedroom apartments and each room within a property is en suite, which is a big bonus for renters knowing they don't have to share bathroom facilities
Danielle Hall, iiabud_dubaii

“I noticed that many young professionals struggle to find legal, clean and quality rooms to rent or apartment shares in Dubai, so that’s where the business idea came from.

“I started off with three rooms in one apartment and now I have 21 rooms spread across seven apartments, so it has really taken off.

“I decided to hang up my teaching boots to focus my efforts full-time on iiabud_dubaii.”

After securing a business licence for holiday home rentals, Ms Hall, with her business partner Lisa Thomas, rent apartments under their company name on annual contracts.

The business pair source the apartments direct from a well-known developer in Dubai and provides accommodation to people who want to co-share with like-minded people and pay their rent and bills in one monthly payment.

The licence allows three people, who are unrelated, to live together under one roof and, per the agreement with the developer, apartments are let out only to same-sex occupants.

All seven properties are fully furnished and located in Downtown Dubai, close to public transport.

“The buildings are secure, have modern amenities including a pool and gym and are located within walking distance from a metro station,” she said.

“They are all three-bedroom apartments and each room within a property is en suite, which is a big bonus for renters knowing they don't have to share bathroom facilities.

“There will never be more than three people living in one apartment, so our renters know there is no risk of overcrowding.”

At current rates, standard rooms cost Dh4,000 a month and master suites are priced at Dh4,400. Room rates are reviewed every three months.

Tenants are encouraged to sign a lease for at least three months and they pay their rent monthly, up front.

“I’ve heard so many people having terrible landlord-tenant experiences, so I want to eliminate that headache for people,” she said.

“I’m a normal person starting out my business, so I have great interaction with my tenants because they are the very people that can advise me on what works and what doesn't.

“They don’t have to worry about sorting out things like setting up an Ejari or paying big security deposits for things like Dewa and air conditioning.”

Ms Hall said at the moment about 50 per cent of her residents are new to Dubai.

“It’s a big support for people who have just moved here because most landlords ask for Emirates ID, but many people don’t have it in the early stages,” she said.

“I ask for a copy of their passport and a copy of a job offer letter if relevant, although that is not essential.

“And just to cover any risk of damage tenants are asked to pay a one month’s rent deposit.

"I really want to change the room rental landscape in Dubai and offer a personal service that works for young professionals looking to make friends and love a comfortable home life here."

Updated: July 10, 2022, 9:14 AM