My Dubai Rent: Teacher pays Dh85,000 for two-bed apartment in 'real gem' district

Briton Zohra Pandor and her South African husband, Salim, moved to the city's stylish community in 2022

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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 two years ago Zohra Pandor and her family moved across Dubai to be closer to her job as a primary school teacher.

The couple currently pay Dh85,000 ($23,140) a year for a two-bedroom apartment in Sobha Hartland, one of the city’s stylish emerging communities.

Ms Pandor, a British Pakistani aged 36, lives with her husband Salim, a project manager from South Africa, and their 16-month-old son.

They rent a unit on the 27th floor with views across Dubai in an increasingly popular development close to many of their favourite areas.

Ms Pandor, who has been in the UAE for six years, took The National on a tour of the apartment.

My Dubai rent: Dh85,000 for a two-bed in downtown Dubai

My Dubai rent: Dh85,000 for a two-bed in downtown Dubai

Please tell us about your home

We have lived in a building called Sobha Creek Vistas for the last 20 months and we pay Dh85,000 annually in four cheques.

These apartments are quite compact, fitting two bedrooms and every day living spaces into approximately 875sq ft.

There are two bathrooms, an open-plan kitchen and living room, plus two good sized balconies. The downside is that there are no storage rooms and limited cupboard space.

The building is now pretty full, but there is always quite a calm atmosphere.

Where did you live before?

We moved from a one-bedroom, fully furnished apartment in Dubai Sports City to Sobha Hartland to be closer to my work place, which was in Ajman at the time.

Before Sports City we lived in Jumeirah Beach Residence, and prior to JBR I lived in Silicon Oasis.

Why did you choose Sobha Hartland?

I prefer living very close to the main areas – such as Dubai Downtown and Festival City – and the airport proximity is excellent for getting a taxi there and back.

The first thing that stood out to me was the finish of the building’s communal areas and the apartment itself – it is of a high quality and was brand-new at the time.

Secondly, the view from our building of Ras Al Khor was mesmerising … it completely blew me away.

A friend moved to this area six months prior. I visited her and fell in love with the build quality of Sobha Realty.

Many people have still not heard of the area, but it’s a real gem which is becoming popular with professionals working in DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre).

What are the other advantages of living there?

Although we are still waiting for a nursery in the area, there are communal parks and really nice coffee shops.

There are many grocery stores, including a Choithrams, a vet's clinic and beauty salons.

The building has a gym, sauna, big shower/changing rooms; it has more of a hotel feel. The maintenance is excellent, lifts are always spotless, and staff are extremely professional, friendly and speak English.

Recently a bus service started between Sobha Hartland and Dubai Mall metro station making it very accessible to domestic workers.

Dubai Mall is a short drive away and so quick and easy to access to make it our local mall.

We are also very well connected to the Festival City area, with Damac Hills being on the E44 Al Khail Road, and E66 Al Ain Road nearby which can connect us to the E311 motorway in minutes.

I also enjoy being close to health care for our family medical visits.

Is it a sociable neighbourhood?

My son has many friends in our building – they all meet up everyday on the first floor play area, and attend each other's birthday parties from time to time.

I have met some great people in the communal areas and it’s been nice to connect as parents or network for work.

How have you made the apartment your home?

We decorated the flat with a minimalist style due to the compact space.

We have our son’s toys and role-play items dotted around the living room, as we haven’t turned the second bedroom into his room yet; we have been using it for family when they visit from the UK and South Africa.

We have hung some family picture frames and installed a mirror.

As we don’t own the property, we are saving up for our own home to really make how we would like.

What do you like and what would you change about the place?

The beautiful floor to ceiling living room window letting in tonnes of natural light is refreshing.

We installed blackout curtains that work really well if we need total darkness.

We would definitely have added some more storage space if we had to change anything, and an island in the kitchen.

Do you plan to stay in the property?

I would love to stay, but we need more space, especially a small garden space for the baby and pets that we would like to get in the future.

I would say the property is a fantastic location and would make an excellent investment if someone could afford to buy.

Do you think living there offers value for money?

The rent has increased 30 per cent from when we first moved here, from Dh70,000 to nearly Dh100,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.

We will not the renewing at that price and will be moving out (at the end of the tenancy) as we cannot keep up with the increase.

I feel we did get great value for money for our two years of living here, but unfortunately not at the higher end of the price tag.

We are better off moving to the outskirt areas like Silicon Oasis or looking at some of the Azizi buildings nearby.

Are there any downsides to living in that unit?

The construction isn’t a major issue as it is very well managed and there is no noise for us on the 27th floor.

However, the small kitchen and lack of storage space is an issue for a growing family.

Updated: March 04, 2024, 4:43 PM