My Dubai Rent: Dh159,000 a year flat in City Walk is perfect home for UK couple

Helen Younger says she wanted to find somewhere homely in a central location

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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

Helen Younger, 63, moved to Dubai with her husband from the UK four years ago and has lived in the same property ever since.

The reason is simple. She cannot imagine finding a better home than her two-bedroom apartment in Dubai’s City Walk.

Ms Younger pays Dh159,000 a year on rent and over the past four years she has become such a fixture in the local community that staff in the local hotel call her mama.

Here, she takes The National on a tour of her property.

Where do you live?

In a two-bedroom apartment at City Walk. I wanted somewhere that felt like a home and didn't want to have to move all the time as I think that’s a waste of money.

Why did you choose this apartment?

We wanted somewhere in a good location when we were moving from the UK and we fell in love with the place when we were shown around.

It’s great because so many places are right on our doorstep and are within walking distance.

My husband Tim works in finance in the Dubai International Financial Centre, so it’s easy for him to reach work. We lived in Hertfordshire before and it could take him up to two hours to get to work in London.

We are a five-minute drive, or 15-minute walk, to the beach. In the winter, we can walk to the metro station at Dubai Mall. You can even walk to Dubai Opera House or the Coca-Cola Arena and you can cycle around here as well.

The perimeter of City Walk is about four kilometres and I try to walk as much as I can around it, even in the summer.

It’s only 20 minutes as well to the airport so it’s easy when friends and family come over to stay with us.

We’re just on the right side of town for so many things. I do most of my shopping at Mercato Mall, which isn’t far either.

We always owned our own property in the UK, and still do, so the concept of renting was alien to us so it had to be the perfect place.

How much do you pay for the apartment?

The rent has come down a little bit. We were paying around Dh190,000 a year at first but now it's Dh159,000.

Did you look at many properties before settling on this one?

I searched Property Finder for about three months before we moved to Dubai. We landed on a Friday morning and by that afternoon we were at City Walk looking at properties.

We wanted something on the sixth floor but all those properties had gone. It was the same with the fifth floor so we settled on the fourth.

I still keep in touch with the estate agent who showed us the property.

How have you immersed yourself in the community?

The staff at the hotel beside us, La Ville, have been incredibly good to us over the years.

That’s why it’s only fair that I do what I can to help them as well. A lot of them couldn’t get home during the pandemic, so I would bake them cakes for their birthdays to try and make up for that.

They’ve given up so much to support their families back in their home countries. If they’re feeling sad or stressed I will make them cookies or a cake to try and cheer them up.

They will call me mama when I go in now.

What have you done to put your personal touch on the property?

I've done a few little things to make it cosy and comfortable and feel like a home, such as wallpapering and painting the walls.

What would you change about your home if you could?

One aspect I am not keen on is having to negotiate the rent every year, but that’s going to be the case anywhere we rent in Dubai.

The only other thing I could think of is a bit more greenery maybe, but it’s a small gripe as my husband and I are really happy to have chosen to live here.

Anytime we have had any issues with the maintenance, the building staff have been quick to respond, so I couldn’t really ask for more to be honest.

Updated: August 16, 2022, 6:26 AM
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