My Dubai Rent: The dad who swapped apartment life for a villa on outskirts of the city

Paul Willetts pays Dh110,000 for townhouse in the Town Square community

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My Dubai Rent takes you inside a reader's home to have a look at what they get for their money, how much they pay in rent and asks them what they like and don't like

Almost five years ago vehicle consultant Paul Willetts decided to swap apartment life for a villa in a Dubai suburban community.

The Briton, who owns Gemini Automotive Solutions, now pays Dh110,000 for a three-bedroom Hayat Townhouse in Town Square, which he shares with his wife Amy and their son Jesse, aged three.

Mr Willetts, 36, invited The National to take a tour of the property to show us what makes it ideal for family life.

Where did you live before?

We lived in JLT from 2016 to 2018 and decided villa-living was what we wanted instead. We took a chance on Town Square, having not really heard about it, and moved to a four-bedroom townhouse for Dh113,000, the same price per year as our one-bedroom JLT apartment.

Town Square was virtually non-existent back then and didn’t have any shops when we first moved in July 2018. But we grew into the area and now there is virtually every amenity you could need.

Why did you choose this area?

Originally, we had intended to live in Mira as this was within our budget, but when driving up Al Qudra Road I decided to take a look at Town Square.

My Dubai Rent: Family pay Dh110,000 for townhouse in Town Square

My Dubai Rent: Family pay Dh110,000 for townhouse in Town Square

It just clicked for us. We found it to be great value for money with plenty of space and well laid out houses.

We had to relocate in 2022 because our landlord wanted to move in. When our own house purchase fell through, it was a clear choice to stay in Town Square as we like the community so much.

We have a carport with room for two cars and a garden to the rear. We are on a quiet street near the back of the community, so traffic is very low and there is plenty of parking for guests.

What facilities do you have around you?

Town Square has four supermarkets, a gigantic range of branded food outlets, places to eat and grab a coffee, a choice of sports facilities, amenities and activities to entertain the family, lots of fun attractions for the children and, in the coming months, a brasserie and a sports bar for the grown-ups.

The pools and gym facilities are very good and fairly well maintained. A lot of the time you don’t need to leave the community.

Town Square has grown and grown since we moved in and has many attractions, shops and food outlets that other communities lack. That is why more and more people are moving here.

This, unfortunately, is pushing up rent prices and, in turn, forcing out early adopters of the community. It’s frustrating.

Have you personalised your home?

With us only renting we have been reluctant to spend much money making the house unique.

In our first townhouse, in Zahra, we added shower screens and painted two walls as well as installed a basic patio and garden. Although this made our house a home while we were there, this was all left behind when we moved out.

We won’t be changing much with our current place as we feel we will be asked to move at some point as rental values increase.

We have always planned to purchase our own home, but with prices increasing we are priced out of what we can afford.

Our landlord contacted us this week to inform us the rent is due in three months and he intends to increase it by Dh10,000 per year, something we don’t feel is justified.

Are there any downsides to living in this area?

Traffic is a huge issue. Getting out of Town Square at peak times is a massive pain with only two exit lanes for the ever-growing population to filter on to Al Qudra Road. The two roads have not been expanded since 2017, even though more sub-communities have opened.

Having to sit and queue for 3km, heading away from where you are going, to do a U-turn at the roundabout is borderline crazy. There are, allegedly, plans to change this.

There is a bit of noise pollution from the airbase close by and from the desert in peak season, but not enough to really disturb you.

Updated: June 29, 2023, 6:41 AM