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Garage Life: a Solution to the Housing Shortage?


‘Beds in sheds’ is a relatively recent phenomenon in areas where there are more tenants than available rental properties. The phenomenon means that some landlords rent out hastily converted garden sheds and outbuildings in order to make a profit, uncaring of the fact that many of these homes are not fit for human

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habitation. Now it seems the trend is spreading to include garage conversions.

“As pressure for affordable housing grows, planning officers fear that parts of London may soon resemble Kolkata’s slums,” says the Guardian.

Enterprising Landlords  Local housing officers have been targeting converted outbuildings and garden sheds for a while, but they are now turning their attention to garage conversions. Some landlords in London, seeing a gap in the market, are offering to house tenants in garages converted into living accommodation.

Slum Housing Conditions Despite the lack of facilities, not least windows and heat insulation in many cases, tenants desperate for somewhere to sleep and unable to afford rents of around £1,000 per month for a studio flat, are paying in the region of £600 per month for a tiny living space not designed for a family to live in. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it is vulnerable people who are most often forced to put up with such dreadful conditions.

And as the local planning officer says, “Obviously there is a housing crisis but, just because there is a housing crisis, that doesn’t mean that people should live in rubbish.”

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