JLT - Are You Serious?

JLT – Are you serious?

If you’re new to Dubai or you’re looking for a new place to live, there’s certain areas you may want to think about avoiding, and these days a lot of people seem to think that for the price, location, standard of living and overall value, JLT has fallen miles behind everywhere else, but why?

If you pay Dh100,000 for a one-bed, or Dh120,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in Dubai, and it’s in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, do you feel that they’ve seen you coming from quite some distance? That’s the view of many who have lived there, and at Inside Dubai, we thought we’d investigate why:

The Real Estate Agents

Just say by some mad twist of dissociative fugue state you were set on getting a place in JLT, make sure the person showing you the apartment is giving you all the information you need.

You see, very often things are not what they seem in “The Towers” (I took “Jumeirah” out as they are nowhere near Jumeirah, and “Lakes” out because, well, read on). There are many hidden costs in JLT that leave you wondering if they can possibly be for real. It’s not like some of these don’t exist in other areas too, but for the standard of living offered by this area, it’s actually quite bizarre.JLT - Are You Serious?The Real Estate guy/girl will do a couple of things you might want to be aware of – they’ll probably say you can get Dh5,000 off the annual rent if you give them three grand there and then. They also try to get you to chuck them money to connect your DEWA and AC for you. Don’t do either of these things. The landlord would take the money off anyway. If he won’t, go elsewhere.

Real Estate agents love money more than the majority of those living in Dubai, especially the ones operating in JLT. We will literally never be certain of why this is. They certainly shift a lot of apartments, and for rentals they take about Dh5,000 commission for each one. Dh5,000 for getting a key and opening a door. Amazing.


If you know someone who is in Real Estate and is not finding it too easy, you should feel bad for them. Because if you’re struggling at getting a key and opening an apartment up for people to look at, it’s pretty much the end times for you I’m sad to say.


The Joke Add-Ons

AC is not included in JLT. It’s one of the few places where that’s the case. So add on at least Dh6,000 to the advertised rental price. There’s also the Housing Fees imposed by the building management. What a great job they do by the way. Then there’s money for your parking, money for an access card, money for old rope. All in all, it’s about an extra Dh10,000 on top of your rent to live in JLT. And that’s before the usual bills.

The Smell

Each day at 6pm religiously, the unmistakeable scent of human excrement drifts across the area, in fact it’s the only thing in JLT that you can actually depend upon. The smell of faeces. Nice one. We’re not sure why, we just know it’s no good. It’s even worse when combined with the smell from the “lakes” in mid-summer.JLT - Are You Serious?

The Nice Lakes

“The Swamps” as they are affectionately known, are the green stagnant areas of what looks a bit like water. In temperatures close to 40°C, with no biological life and no filtration, it tends to go stale and green and starts to add to the stench. Doesn’t matter how much white powder (Chlorine? Washing Powder?) you see them pour in it each morning, it’s not going to work.

JLT - Are You Real

The Cheap Construction

Exemplified by the Tamweel Tower fire of 2013, it’s hard to argue with the fact that many of the towers were and still are put up using cut-price materials that are highly flammable. It’s no different to the rest of Dubai in that respect, but still a concern for residents.

The Traffic System

It sure does take more than one go to bust out of JLT once you’re in. Even by Dubai standards, the traffic flow system is complex and a touch nonsensical.

The Parking

Many residents don’t get their own parking space or have to pay for the privilege. If you work there, you may find the same applies. And if you have guests coming over? Well, they’d better only be staying for two hours, otherwise there’s a problem.

No Pools

Many of the buildings have no outside pool which, when you consider the money you’re parting with and the temperatures outside, is strange. Would you miss the idea of going down for a few hours next to the pool to catch a bit of sun? We think you might.

The Good Parts

Getting on the Metro is pretty cool at JLT because if you’re going to work, you pretty much have it all to yourself to begin with. Also, the Zoom supermarkets are always full of a good set of lads and ladies who all scream their greetings at you simultaneously the moment you walk through the door. It’s weird and scary at first but then is nice and makes you feel like you just walked into the bar at Cheers.

JLT - Are You Serious?

There’s also a Spinneys (for all your Waitrose/pork demands), UBK (Dh19 per drink 8.30pm -10.30pm every night), Pizza Express Jazz (for good music and pizza) and a Mcgettigan’s, plus Flames for the best curries in the area.

Also, if you have a dog like so many expats seem to, JLT is dog-friendly. But do try to make sure you walk the poor thing won’t you? Even though when you do you may wish to don a gas mask.


An average one-bed 1,000sqm apartment in JLT is currently on the market for Dh100,000. A one bed, 1,200sqm apartment in Elite Residence or Sulafa Tower in the Marina is currently exactly the same price.

Some might say that gets close to defying logic. It could well be time to drop the prices or see a mass JLT exodus, because when the Marina comes out at the same or better, there’s only ever going to be one winner in that contest.