19 Priory Way, Whitehall Road, Terenure, Dublin 12 Asking price: €825,000 Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 490 7433
There’s a ‘magic’ mirror in the home of Terenure-based art nouveau enthusiast Carmel Lyons which lets you gaze into the perfect plan for earning rental income from your home without ceding any of your privacy.
The full length mirror on the hall wall is also a soundproofed hidden door. Walking through it takes you into a spacious one bedroom apartment with its own open plan living/dining room, kitchen and bathroom.
Double doors lead outside to the apartment’’s private patio garden. And it has its own front door through which its resident tenant enters and leaves.
But the secret internal mirror door is a vital component, because it qualifies the apartment for the Rent A Room (RAR) scheme.
Introduced by Government to allow home owners to earn income by renting a space in their home, the scheme has been relatively successful, so much so that the tax free earning limit was raised from €10,000 per annum to €14,000 per annum.
But the Government stipulates that in order to qualify for the scheme, the area the renter occupies must be linked directly into and be a part of the main residence. There must be an internal passage from the lodger’s living area into the main abode, or else it is considered to be a self-contained apartment and therefore liable for full taxation.
The obvious downside for those who want to avail of RAR, is having to share your home with someone else and the privacy and encroachment issues that this entails.
So while Carmel Lyons and her tenant live entirely separate lives, the clever soundproofed mirror door which links the two spaces qualifies as the ‘passage’ stipulated by the scheme.
Lyons, who works for the National Gallery of Ireland, has always had one eye on comfort and décor, and the other on the addition of market value and commercial potential when acquiring properties over the years.
The detached four-bed house she bought with her late husband at 19 Priory Walk on Terenure’s Whitehall Road 21 years ago came with a garage to the side.
They weren’t just attracted by this home’s size and dimensions, its location, mellow brick frontage and stained glass panelled front entrance; but also by the potential future earning prowess of that vital side garage space.
So she converted the garage, added additional space at its rear and converted the former side passage to add even more, including the apartment’s own door front entrance. The driveway allows for two or more vehicles, so the tenant has off road parking.
“I originally designed the additional accommodation so my grown up children could stay over. But they’re living all over the place now, in Northern Ireland, in the UK. When I converted it, I deliberately paid for reinforced foundations that could permit the addition of another first floor at little cost while doubling the accommodation.
“It means this house appeals to the most types of buyers possible. And it wasn’t that expensive to do.”
Lyons’ equally privacy conscious tenants have also been happy with the arrangement. She’s had just two in the last decade. The heavy tax toll on private landlords means she has no incentive to exceed the maximum RAR rent. At the same time, rents have increased to a degree that her apartment now offers exceedingly good value in the current market. So everybody’s happy.
Carmel put her home on the market back in 2014, but the project she had her eye on fell through. Now she has set her sights on bigger home outside Dublin with a layout that fulfils her new plan to open a public exhibition space.
So she has placed No19 on the market through Sherry FitzGerald, seeking €825,000.
The main house has been decorated richly with her appreciation of art nouveau in mind. There’s a good sized lounge to the front with a period style chimney piece.
It’s linked to the open plan kitchen, dining room and living room space with the dining area cleverly contained in a semi circular annexe with bespoke built in window seats all round. The ground floor layout makes No19 a great house for entertaining.
There are four bedrooms upstairs as well as attic storage. The master has its own en suite with a Mira power shower and there’s a family bathroom also.
Outside is Carmel’s ‘special summer space,’ an ornate timber garden building artfully furnished for tea or breezy cocktails on balmy summer evenings.
The garden here is still substantial, even minus the annex, and it includes a patio and a hidden ‘secret garden’ recess.
The range of options for buyers include keeping the tax free rent-a-room status, house a family member or an au pair; you could live in the annex and rent the house; you could extend over the annex and reunite the accommodation into one great big family home.
It really depends on just how No19 reflects your needs.