My Dubai Rent: Lebanese tenant pays Dh47,000 for 'sanctuary' of JVC apartment

Jessy Chami has lived in Jumeirah Village Circle for eight years

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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 and how much they pay in rent, and ask them what they like and don't like

For eight of her 15 years working in the country, Jessy Chami has lived in Jumeirah Village Circle, seeing it transform from one of Dubai’s largest building sites into a community hugely in demand.

Since 2020, the Lebanese has rented a one-bedroom apartment where she stays with her golden retriever, Duke, both enjoying the area’s open spaces during their regular walks.

Ms Chami, 36, who is a huge fitness fan, says the district is convenient for her social life, as well as her commute to work in Barsha Heights, where she is a public relations director at the Orient Planet Group.

She took The National on a tour of her third-floor “sanctuary”.

My Dubai Rent: PR executive rents Dh47,000 one-bedroom apartment

My Dubai Rent: PR executive rents Dh47,000 one-bedroom apartment

Tell us about your home

It is a huge one-bedroom apartment. I have my living room with a dining table, a bathroom and a half, and an open kitchen.

I have two balconies and used to have a view, but now there is another building across the street and a mosque.

I moved here in September 2020.

Did you get a good deal on the rent at that time?

Yes, as back then it was Dh37,000. I think it is one of the oldest buildings in JVC, with only four floors, but the good thing is the apartments are spacious. Even the studio where I used to stay was big, so I have got the same furniture.

I recently renewed my contract here for about Dh47,000, in line with Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency, which is still fair enough compared to the new apartments. I get it directly from a private landlord.

Where did you live before?

I used to stay in the same building, in a studio. It was hard on me and Duke staying in the studio 24/7 [during the Covid pandemic], but I found this apartment, which is way bigger than where I was for Dh5,000 or Dh6,000 more.

After the explosion happened in Beirut in 2020, I had my brother staying here. Then he found a job and a year later moved out, but he is staying in JVC as well.

Before that, I lived in JLT in a very small studio.

Why this building?

The prices, to be honest, and the space inside the apartments. And there is a nice area on the roof, so we usually sit up there when the weather allows. It is a calm place.

Plus, I cannot live in a tower because of my dog.

Why did you choose this area?

It is close to the park, just across the street. It is also close to my work, so I don’t have to drive for an hour or two.

It is close to everything … the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Hills. Now we have Circle Mall, which opened recently, a five-minute walk away.

We don’t really have to leave JVC; everything is here, and it’s quiet.

What kind of amenities do you have nearby?

We have a pool on the ground floor and a gym. I literally have a park across the road and we have other nice parks in JVC.

I usually run in the morning, and have my personal trainer every day, but I exercise in the gym when it is too hot to exercise outside.

On the roof, we have greenery and places to sit and have barbecues.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

Yes, big time. Sometimes I meet my neighbours in Circle Mall for coffee. There is a bar there and two more in the Five hotel.

My brother is in JVC, my cousin lives in the same area, as well as some of my colleagues and friends.

There are many parks and they have recently opened a dog park, so we all meet there and they (the dogs) can play.

There are a lot of families, sometimes they do kids' birthdays at the park. They also do a lot of community events for the children, on our roof.

Have you made it a home?

I would not really say I personalised it but it feels like home. It’s very cosy, but simple. I’m not into fancy things but I have all my own furniture.

I don’t usually cook as I am on meal plans, so I rarely use the kitchen. I do not have a cooker; I have a wine fridge instead.

There is artwork on the walls, some of which I bought from Lebanon. I have a picture in the bedroom that one of my colleagues drew and a puzzle that my friend worked on hanging on the wall, as well.

A friend of mine bought me a star, believe it or not, so that [certificate] is on the wall with the star's location.

I watch a lot of movies, so I need my living space and everything is in its place. I’m OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder] level 200.

What would you change if you owned your flat?

The kitchen, because it is open. I would rather do it American-style, with an island to split the kitchen from the living room.

Do you think living here offers value for money?

Of course. It now costs at least Dh50,000 to Dh55,000 for a typical one-bedroom apartment in JVC, which comes with less space.

Do you plan to stay?

I hope so as I hate moving. But if I was to move out of this apartment, I would want to stay in this building.

I did not know my neighbours in JLT because it was a tower, so I am much happier here where there are four floors with barely 10 apartments on each.

The roads have got better, the facilities are improving, everything is in place. We didn’t have traffic lights [eight years ago], didn’t have enough groceries, pharmacies, places to go out to. Now, we literally have everything.

Are there any downsides to the location?

Just the traffic. It is a nightmare to use Hessa Street these days – work is based in Tecom [Barsha Heights]. It used to be 10 minutes away, but now a lot of people are staying in JVC, Motor City and Sports City.

Updated: September 17, 2023, 3:14 AM