My Dubai Rent: Couple moved to new villa after landlord wanted to raise rent by Dh30,000

Andreas Selwood and his wife Rowena pay Dh125,000 rent for four-bedroom villa, Dh60,000 less than was demanded for their former home

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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

IT director Andreas Selwood and his wife Rowena, a landscape architect and artist, faced a potentially huge rent increase at their previous villa in Dubai.

So they found a new four-bedroom, three-bathroom home nearby for Dh60,000 less than was being demanded by their old landlord.

Five years on, they remain in the Jumeirah 3 single-storey house, with plenty of space for their eight cats, on the same annual rent amount.

Mr Selwood, 55, took The National on a tour to show why the couple don’t plan on moving anywhere else.

Where did you live before?

In Jumeirah 3, close to Safa Park. We did not really want to leave, but the property company wanted to increase the rent from Dh155,000 to Dh185,000 with no extra benefits or refurbishment.

It was a three-bedroom, semi-detached, single-storey, 35-plus-year-old villa in a compound of 23 with a lovely shared pool, which we had almost exclusive use of.

It was a great location for us, but the rent was just way too high for the quality of the villa. People pay over the odds, I think, and because they keep paying over the odds, landlords think they can keep getting it, and it keeps going up.

Tell us about this home

My Dubai Rent: A villa for 125k large enough for this couple and their eight cats

Andreas Selwood with his wife Rowena and cat at his villa in Jumeirah 3 in Dubai. He pays around 125k AED rent for four bedroom villa. Pawan Singh / The National

We wanted to stay in the area and were lucky enough to find our current four-bedroom, detached villa for Dh125,000.

It didn’t have a pool, something we knew we’d miss, but a saving of Dh60,000 per year was too good to turn down. We did look further afield, but did not find anything better for us than this.

As part of the agreement for the low rent, our landlord insisted we pay for all maintenance. Having the flexibility to repair what we wanted, when we wanted with the quality we wanted was also a bonus.

Too often we’d heard tales of landlords failing to cover maintenance charges, or replacing items with substandard products, especially when the substandard product meant it fell within the cost bracket for the tenant to cover.

What are the advantages of the area?

We live about halfway between Al Wasl and Beach Road, and close to Umm Al Sheif junction on to Sheikh Zayed Road which gives excellent access to the E44. It’s just so convenient, ideally placed between the Creek area and Dubai Marina, giving us easy access to most of coastal Dubai.

The beach and Dubai Offshore Sailing Club are just a seven-minute walk away, and we have Spinneys, Choithram and Union Coop supermarkets within a 10-minute drive, and a newly opened Carrefour only two and a half-minute walk.

The newly built cycle track that runs between the canal and Jumeirah Beach Hotel is also a bonus to me as a keen cyclist.

How have you personalised your home?

We changed internal and external lights, removed old A/C units and ceiling vents, and replaced manhole covers.

We have also added a shade sail to one area that means, with the help of an external A/C unit, we can sit in our courtyard all year round, setting up a TV on one wall to enjoy French Open tennis and Wimbledon.

We have also populated our garden with plants and trees that attract birds, bees and help cool the garden as well as being a great play area for the cats.

We have also benefited from many established trees providing character and shade.

What key benefits are there to the property?

Value for money and quality of life.

The main benefit is its internal flexibility. Four bedrooms mean we have an extra store room – as well as a “maids room” – a spare bedroom and the fourth room swaps between our gym and cat quarantine area.

Rescuing cats is one of my wife’s passions. We have rescued 24 so far and managed to find homes for almost all of them. We currently have eight – six permanent residents and two rescues that will be flying to Scotland soon.

The property has a good-sized kitchen so there is space to feed all the cats in one area, and the open plan nature of the lounge, dining area and study area means there is plenty of space for all the cats to play and sleep while still being together and with us.

What do you like about the area?

All our cats are allowed outside to wander as they please so the advantage of a fully detached villa means there are lots of areas in the garden for them to run around.

That, added to the fact we are not too close to a main road, gives us a good level of safety for them when they wander off.

We know our immediate neighbours. I’ve spent many an evening knocking on their door saying: “Can I check your garden for my cat?”

Are there any downsides to living there?

The only downside we can possibly think of is that most of our friends live in villas farther inland – mainly, I guess, so they get more space for their money. It is always a bit of a trek to visit them.

As it is just the two of us living here – plus up to 10 cats at one time – we don’t need a large villa, but do need outside space for us and the cats to enjoy.

Do you plan to stay in the property?

If we could buy it, we probably would. We will stay for as long as we’re allowed to.

When we get kicked out, we would initially look for something in the same area. We love being close to the beach, being in the middle of Dubai.

We don’t want to be far away from things we enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis.

Updated: May 22, 2023, 12:55 PM