My story of renting an apartment
We arrived to Dubai in the beginning of March 2009. A month stay in a serviced apartment was paid by the company as well as Crown Relocations company, which facilitated the move and helped us find a place to live. We had 2 full days of a Crown's agent paid, so we went out two times trying to find a place.
We said the agent that we need an apartment in either Dubai Marina or Jumeirah Beach Residence. She promised to find some options to see. However, we had also found a few options via Dubizzle and sent them to her to arrange a meeting.
So she arrived and we went out to find a place. She didn't know what apartments we were going to see, we just met an agent who showed us her apartments, then met another agent. Honestly, I didn't really like how the Crown agent managed that. She had arranged to meet a couple of her preferred agents who showed us apartments near construction, dirty apartments, etc. and we also saw a couple of the apartments that we found on Dubizzle. Actually, we didn't like anything that she found herself. After 2 or 3 hours we already finished. We saw only 2 apartments that we liked. Both of them we found ourselves via Dubizzle and she only arranged the meeting.
One of them was a very lovely 1-bedroom apartment in JBR being rented out by English owners but they didn't want to negotiate the price too much. Finally they discounted it after a couple of weeks or so, but it was too late.
Another place was also in JBR, it had full sea view, it was very nice and cheaper than the average those days. The landlord didn't negotiate but we didn't insist. So, we decided to make a deal.
After I had signed a contract, it took about a week of endless calls to Crown and to the agent to find out why it took that much time. Every single time they were telling me: Hold on. Everything is fine, the landlord is in a meeting today, he will sign the contract tomorrow. Finally I received a call from Crown. They told me that the landlord had found a tenant who paid a bit more. I was really angry at that kind of making deals. That was the start for understanding how the things are done here.
The very same day Crown arranged the second apartment hunting session. It was pretty much the same as the first time – a couple of agents, nothing to see really. After we had seen everything she had, we had 2 options neither of which we liked – one was just in front of a construction while another one was too expensive. I was really disappointed as our month-stay in the serviced apartment was due to end in a couple of days. I told the agent about my frustration and that I didn't want to compromise, and she started looking for something else. Finally, she found another place in JBR which we liked from the first sight. We negotiated a bit and made a deal.
That time everything was done perfectly. The landlord's managing company submitted the documents to Crown, they checked them and made a deal. We moved in the apartment in 3 or 4 days.
Although the apartment was fine, it was semi-furnished and there was some landlord's furniture inside that we wanted to be removed. We couldn't buy any furniture because there was just no room to place it.
It took a month to get the removal done, because the landlord wanted to sell the furniture rather than place it in a warehouse. He had published some ads on Dubizzle and started waiting for potential buyers. We had two sale sessions. First time, he expected about 5 people to come, see and buy the stuff but only one guy came. He bought only one piece which wasn't the largest one. In about a week time, another meeting with 10 buyers was arranged. No one came! That was a shock for me. That would be never possible back home. If you say something, you either do it or call and say that you are not gonna do it. But there is no way you make other people waiting for you, because it just isn't polite. But here it was completely different. People called, arranged a meeting and never came.
Finally after my complaints the landlord had to send his guys to remove the furniture.
The second issue was an anti-insect net on the balcony door, which was torn and had to be repaired by the landlord. It took a few weeks for a carpenter to come and grab it and then another month to get it back.
That's not it. Another issue was disgusting smell in the bathroom out of a hole in the floor. It had taken forever before someone from the facility management called me and asked what's wrong. But by that time it had gone itself, so I just had to thank the guy and hanged the line.
Well, the move-into-Middle-East adventure had just begun... Later on I will post more issues that I faced re mobile phone, internet, electricity, air conditioning, furniture, medicine, driving license, etc. It was the Murphy law.
Dubai apartments and my colleagues
I was not the only who proved that the Murphy law works here.
My direct colleague had exactly the same problem with his apartment. He found a lovely place in the Old Town and was really happy about it. But after a week of calls he was disappointed the same way as I was. The dodgy landlord cancelled the deal because he found someone else.
Then, he found another apartment, also in the Old Town. He liked the apartment, but he didn't have a look out of the window. That was a big mistake. The picture below explains everything. He couldn't get used to it for a while, being awakened up by the construction traffic several times every night. His balcony is so dusty that sometimes he prefers to smoke in the apartment. So, watch out.
Famous Dubai Construction - the Old Town
Another colleague of mine hired Better Homes real estate agency, which made everything for him. He was quite happy with the job they'd done and would recommend it to seek for a place.