Sunday 20 August 2017

Refurbishing our derelict, decrepit buildings could help ease housing crisis

Without a coherent regeneration programme supported by the local authority, the isolated house restoration under the new scheme will suffer. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Without a coherent regeneration programme supported by the local authority, the isolated house restoration under the new scheme will suffer. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

Hiding in plain sight, one solution to the housing shortage has been staring successive governments in the face for decades. Derelict and decrepit Victorian and Georgian buildings scattered within our cities had, in the most part, fallen victim to pre 1963 multiple occupancy.

By that, I mean squalid one-room bedsits with shared sanitary facilities. They received little or no maintenance, other than ubiquitous PVC windows and cement mortar pointing damming up the walls and keeping moisture locked in. Making it nice and damp indoors.

Whether through the abolition of bedsits or repossession from over-zealous amateur investors, many of these buildings are now on the market. The biggest challenge has always been the cost of restoring the building to single occupancy or at least sub-division into decent-sized apartments.

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