Tenants forced to buy children’s beds for maids as room is so small
ABU DHABI // Some tenants are shocked at the size of rooms deemed fit for maids to live in, but real estate agents say most are not bothered.
Rooms too small to fit standard beds leave some residents unsure about how to furnish maids’ rooms, leaving them to debate whether to buy children’s beds or invest in a custom-made bed.
When Pierre Vandewalle moved to Al Raha Gardens, in Abu Dhabi, from Dubai earlier this year, he was shocked that he could not fit his nanny’s single-size bed into her new room.
“I was absolutely appalled by this situation,” said the 43-year-old Belgian.
“We came with our bed and I couldn’t even imagine that it wouldn’t fit in there.” Many maids may be used to different living situations but “that’s not an excuse for us to just accept the situation as it is”, he said.
He said he asked his nanny her thoughts on the room and ended up giving her space in the hallway outside the room, where she can put a refrigerator and microwave, although he had to opt for a junior-sized bed.
Most of the places he visited before moving to Abu Dhabi locked the maids’ rooms during visits, said Mr Vandewalle.
“I wish things were different and we would have a choice,” he said.
However, most potential tenants do not have an issue with the sizes, according to Moin Hamdani, director of Elysian Real Estate Abu Dhabi.
“They are complaining about the size of their room, but no one is complaining about the maid’s room,” he said.
Elena Novikova, managing director of Real Estate Management, agreed that few tenants complain. “To be honest, I don’t think they care,” she said.
Gina Dillon, creator of the UAE Housemaids Facebook page, was not surprised to hear that families hire carpenters to saw down beds to fit in maids’ rooms.
“I believe there are some popular compounds with very small housemaid quarters, which is very unfortunate for the housemaids,” she said.
Ms Dillon said she could not blame tenants because families are squeezing into smaller quarters because of rising housing costs.
“Although tenants are always left with a choice, adapting our lifestyles due to the rising cost of living expenses in the UAE is not easy to accept and, unfortunately, the poor housemaids suffer,” she said.
* Additional reporting by Ola Salem
Updated: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM