Tuesday 27 September 2016

Young couples sleeping in parents' garden 'sheds' to avoid high rents

Laura Larkin

Published 21/03/2016 | 12:02

A wooden cabin similar to the ones that are in big demand from those who can't afford rents
A wooden cabin similar to the ones that are in big demand from those who can't afford rents

YOUNG couples are choosing to live in wooden cabins in their parents' gardens in a bid to beat high rents and stricter mortgage rules, the Herald can reveal.

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A number of suppliers in the Dublin region have confirmed that couples and singles who have been priced out of the market are turning to cabins as a last resort.

Requests

A spokesman for Timber Homes, based on the Naas Road in Bluebell, said the company is "up to its eyes" with requests for wooden 'homes'.

Planning permission is difficult to secure, and many people opt to list the buildings as extra office or shed space instead of for residential use.

"People around the country who have parcels of land are going for the bigger two and three-bedroom units, whereas in Dublin they're using a 25 square metre unit and converting it into a type of bedsit," the spokesman said.

"Those are being constructed generally in the back garden of their parents' house.

"People are opting for these because they can't afford a rental property and because rental properties are so scarce.

"There are big advantages because you have your independence - you're close to all of the facilities of the house."

The smallest units can be bought and set up for as little as €6,000. Larger ones can cost from €30,000 to €50,000.

Another company, Loghouse Living, which is now part of the Ecohouse Development company, has seen a "dramatic increase" in this type of customer over the past five years.

"The consumer is looking for a temporary solution, designed to get their children or families in a position to afford a down payment on a full-sized home," said Ecohouse director Terry Hutt.

Crisis

Mr Hutt said the planning process for one-off temporary dwellings should be speeded up to address the crisis, without lowering standards.

Fergus Joyce, of Botanic Living, said he has not noticed the same increase as other suppliers because of the planning difficulties faced by potential customers.

"For every 20 couples who come in here for a cabin I would say one in 20 get planning," he said.

Mr Joyce also called for changes in how planning is granted for cabins and temporary structures.

Aideen Hayden, the chairperson of housing charity Threshold, said she was not surprised people were now turning to wooden cabins.

"I have two friends who have this type of thing in their back gardens with their stay-at-home children living in them," she said. "If I know two people personally, you can be sure it's happening elsewhere as well."

Ms Hayden has called for a national housing development agency that would have powers to acquire land and units to address the crisis.

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