Apartment sharing - it’s cooperative rent of estate by two or more people with a purpose of economy. Considering how high the rental rates are in Dubai, examples of such behaviour are ubiquitous. Many workers settle here in vast communes only to get by with their small budgets. When I first moved to Dubai - I was no exclusion. So, many of my acquaintances and friends ask me to share the ins and outs of apartment sharing, so I’ll describe the key points below.
Sharing allows to rent an apartment in Dubai for a realistic amount. Just count it up: renting a one-bedroom apartment in Al Barsha or Deira costs about 60-70 thousand AED a year. It’s enough space for four, so each would pay 16-17 thousand AED a year, or if your roommates change too often - 1.5K AED per month. It’s affordable for anyone who has at least some permanent job, whereas paying such rental all alone is hardly possible for many.
Seems like a perfect option for seasonal workers or those who work on the lowest-paid positions. But in fact, apartment sharing requires following certain rules that will help avoid problems.
1. Settle with the people you know - colleagues, relatives, friends
When four people have to face each other on the daily basis, all sharing 40-50 square meters of space - conflicts and misunderstanding might occur. The better you know your roommates, the better you’ll get on with them and the easier it will be to deal with conflicts. I have had to resort to finding roommates on the internet 2 times, both times they were the hardest to live with, so it didn’t work out very well in both cases. And always demand from your roommates to pay their rental share in time! It will help not to get disappointed in people...
And by the way, better settle with people that you can communicate with. Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis and other folks are fine with living in large communes, but living with them is not very comfortable.
2. The most suitable option would be one bedroom apartment.
The difference in rental rates between a studio and a 1BR (1 Bedroom apartment) in the same area or building won’t be very significant, just about 10-15 thousand. Still one extra room gives more space for 2 other people, so all the other tenants will benefit from it.
Basically, 2BR apartments are even more economical, but it’s more difficult to find enough tenants to share the rental. If you arrive in Dubai with a united group of colleagues you can go for 2BR, if you have to find roommates yourself - 1BR is a way to go.
3. I wouldn’t suggest sharing apartments with spouses, who would occupy one of the rooms
The thing is, such couples usually take the apartment as their own little “family nest”, so it’s difficult to achieve equality in domestic relationships and chores. In addition, they will always be eager to move out as soon as the possibility comes up. Two people together will finally start making enough money to rent an apartment in Dubai for them alone, and eventually they will move out. And you’ll have to bother finding new roommates.
4. Try to find an apartment close to the subway
Anyway, don’t rent an apartment somewhere in International City or Investment Park. Few people will be eager to ride from there to the city center for work everyday, so you’ll have a hard time finding such enthusiasts. The difference in 10 thousand dirhams is not worth it. From my point of view, it’s better to rent an apartment in Dubai in Al Barsha, Deira, or as a last resort - in Discovery Gardens. The other areas are either more expensive, or less convenient.
Sharing my own experience of how to rent an apartment in Dubai with a group of people, and telling which peculiarities should be taken in account.
5. Share reasonably
I have seen one bedroom apartments where 9 people settled. I’ve heard of a “commune” of 14 people, all in a two-bedroom apartment...They eventually got evicted by the police. I wouldn’t even imagine what living in such conditions is like. Experience shows that the best solution is when two people sleep in the bedroom and two in the living room.
Usually the bedroom is occupied by two girls, and the living room by two guys. Or the whole place is for girls or guys only. There have been cases when people in such “mixed” apartments found their love.
6. Negotiate monthly payment with your landlord. If not - then at least once in a quarter.
From my experience, and from the experience of my friends I can only say this: apartment sharing is temporary. People rarely live in communes for more than a year. Everybody is trying to find a good job and rent an apartment in Dubai separately, even if it would cost them the convenience of the infrastructure. The ones who can’t achieve it - go back where they came from. That’s why people are rarely ready to pay for a “communal” apartment for a year ahead.
How to rent an apartment in Dubai for a group of people
By the way, nowadays there are “sharing-ready” apartments in Dubai. They have separate beds with bedside tables, and they look a lot like hostels. But their disadvantage is that you’ll have to live with complete strangers.
After all, I only have good memories left from those time when I lived with one girl and two guys in one apartment. I lived like that for 8 months, until I met my future husband and we moved out to a separate place. So if you have an opportunity to go to Dubai, even if your salary isn’t going to be very big at first - don’t hesitate! Come here and try to find roommates to share an apartment with. It will help you save a lot of money on your start, and when you settle down and get used to life here, you’ll surely find a better place to live.