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
Artist Shadwan Hammoudeh is a Palestinian-Jordanian former bank employee who has lived in Dubai since 2015.
For the past five years, she has rented a large one-bedroom apartment in the city's Al Nahda neighbourhood, an area popular among commuters on the eastern border with Sharjah.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, her mother has lived with her and they have recently been joined by a cat called Marcos.
Ms Hammoudeh, 53, often takes part in local exhibitions and community events such as Arte market at the weekend, and enjoys her home comforts after a busy day.
She said what she loves most about her apartment in Latifa Tower is the natural light and how it helps her create acrylic pouring paintings, as well as abstract and fine art.
Here, Ms Hammoudeh takes The National on a tour of her creative and homely space.
Tell us about your home
The apartment has one bedroom, two bathrooms and is large and sunny. That was the first thing that attracted me to it.
It's on the ninth floor and I have a good-sized balcony which catches the sunrise and gives me some great light for when I want to paint. In fact, the balcony was my first studio.
Finding this home was not an easy task and it took a month of searching with my brother to find what I wanted.
But the moment we entered the apartment, we said this was “the one”.
Bills are OK and depend on consumption, and I pay Dh42,000 annually with a free chiller and parking.
Where did you live previously?
Before I managed to afford to rent my own apartment, I used to live with my brother and his family in Al Barsha and I am grateful for the support that they gave me.
Why did you choose to move to Al Nahda?
I started working at United Arab Bank as a service delivery manager in the Deira branch so I was searching for a place that was well served by easy transportation, as I didn't have a car at that time.
I searched in Al Nahda and the surrounding areas as I wanted to rent a house for a reasonable price.
The Latifa building was the best place close to my office and offering affordable prices with bus routes that link directly to the Dubai Metro.
What kind of facilities do you have access to?
The neighbourhood is quiet but not too far from the shops at Sahara Mall and only 10 minutes from a large Carrefour supermarket.
The building has two swimming pools, one for kids and another for adults, and each tenant has their own garage space.
There is also 24/7 maintenance in case of emergencies.
We have many grocery shops, plus restaurants, a cafe and a clinic.
The bus stop is one minute away from the building, with regular services that go to different destinations.
Is it a sociable neighbourhood?
Due to working hours, we mainly meet other residents in the lift where we greet each other and have a chat.
However, on many occasions such as Eid, Christmas or Diwali, tenants will visit each other, or if someone has a baby.
When I broke my hand, I had lots of visitors!
Some people with the same interests will meet for dog walks or with their children at the swimming pool.
How have you made your flat a personal place?
It was a great feeling buying the furniture and all my other home stuff as this is the first time that I've had my own house.
I chose the colours that I wanted for the curtains and furniture, and I made sure that all of it was new and elegant.
I love plants so I have a lot of them, and I take care of them like they are my babies.
Being an artist, the walls are the place for all of my paintings – until they are sold.
Does living there offer value for money?
The rent in our building is among the most expensive for the area.
But the services that we get and the maintenance, as well as the responsiveness of the management for any issue, are worth the money.
The building is also clean and well maintained with good security and a good contact centre.
Do you plan to stay in the apartment?
I don't think I'll be leaving, unless I get a job that is in a faraway area.
The apartment has many beautiful memories and regularly hosts beautiful family occasions, such as birthday celebrations.
I won't be leaving here any time soon.