Monday, June 20, 2011

Pillow Talk

Finding a decent place to live in Abu Dhabi is as harrowing as finding a good paying job in the same city. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), as we are often identified in our country, usually settled for what is the cheapest available accommodation. There are different ways on how to get the best and not so best deal in finding a bed in the city.

The most common accommodation is the bedspace. This I guess is the cheapest accommodation one could have. Rates could range from AED550 to AED800 per person for one month, inclusive of electricity and water usage. Accommodations like this have free kitchen and washing machine usage. The internet is separte payment. When you say bed space, this entails the tenant one bed in a big room with bunk beds. Most bedspacing rooms, have 3-4 double deck beds with curtain to give the tenant his/her privacy. Though this is cheap and you could have your salary more or less intact, this accommodation robs you the privacy one would need because you would be sharing the room and the space with the rest of the 7 tenants, which means that if you feel like sleeping early the odds of achieving that is slim. Another downside, some bedspace accommodations mix men and women in one room. All the more awkward moments for the women since men don’t care how they change clothes. And, sad to say, some tenants are just too callous to notice their roommates that they even bring their partners in the room and do the humping activities. This is a true account from an officemate who used to occupy the upper deck of the bunk bed. Sleeping is way too impossible to do if you could feel the lower bunk moving and moaning sounds make up the night sounds. Plus, most of the bathroom of this kind of accommodation is not maintained. You have to deal with whatever is crawling on the floor and walls. The stink and the bad lighting adds to the horrific state of the bathroom. These are just a few of the faces of living in a bedspace.

Another accommodation is the partition. This setup is more expensive compared to the bedspace. If you are with a partner or with a sibling and you would like a bigger space for your privacy this is the accommodation. Unlike bed space, the partition is a space in one room where your space is divided by a partition. Partitions usually comes in different type, this could be a curtain, a cabinet or a plyboard wall. Rates range from AED 1500 to AED 1800 per space. One room is subdivided into 2 or 3 parts depends on the size of the room.

If you have extra budget for accommodation and is very willing to spend more for your privacy, you rent a room. Room rates usually depend on the location of the building. City rates for room rentals range from AED 2500 to AED 4000. The good side about having to pay much is that you can have the room all to yourself. You can have all the space you need and don’t have to share with anybody else. Unless, you took a master bedroom, the room rental will also require you to share bathroom.

If however, you value your bathroom time, then it is suggested that you get your own unit. Payment for one flat usually requires you to pay twice or thrice a year. Contracts are renewed annually and you also have to pay the agent who is managing the flat. Agent’s fee usually depend on the agent, some of them charge 5% - 10% of the total monthly fee. The good thing about having your own flat is that you can invite friends for a sleepover. You have the entire space to yourself and no more timing for bathroom use. Plus you get to apply for mawaqif sticker for cheaper parking rate. Flat owner/ flat tenant can buy the sticker for 800 good for one year. Parking fees cost 2AED per hour. Imagine the cost that you could save. The downside about having your own flat is that you have to worry about bills, electric bills, water bills, internet bills.

Every year, reports have shown that accommodation rentals are lowering due to more residential buildings being built outside the CBD. But then cheaper houses don’t really compensate the costs of transportation. So people continue to hunt for cheaper and livable flats which is just within their budget and still be able to send money back to their family in their country. Sigh. This is the life of the OFW.

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