Wednesday 12 December 2018

Room to Improve: Dermot Bannon backs project to convert pensioners' homes into separate units

Rallying cry: People protest the housing crisis in a ‘Raise the Roof’ rally outside Government Buildings in Dublin
Rallying cry: People protest the housing crisis in a ‘Raise the Roof’ rally outside Government Buildings in Dublin
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A project backed by celebrity architect Dermot Bannon has been championing the idea of converting elderly people's homes into separate units for two years now - and it costs a lot more than €15,000.

The Abhaile Project - the brainchild of accountant Michelle Moore, who has enlisted the help of Bannon and architect Ciarán Ferrie - was awarded funding following a Rebuilding Ireland competition looking for innovative 'smart aging' housing ideas last year. The cost of the retrofit is currently between €45,000-€55,000.

The team has designed a solution for a three-bed semi detached that allows a self-contained rental unit upstairs. It includes adding a kitchen and a reconfiguration of the layout to meet regulations for renters.

The design is reversible to allow a home to be turned back to a family home if necessary.

A pilot project is currently being completed in Clondalkin, west Dublin.

The Abhaile Project is hopeful that grant funding will be made available for elderly homeowners but has cautioned that any scheme would need to be fully and carefully teased out to ensure it protects the elderly person and does not have unintended consequences for the housing market.

Under the model the Abhaile Project will act as a property manager once the rental unit is complete.

The house would still be considered a single unit and people are able to rent it out tax-free under the rent-a-room scheme.

Irish Independent

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