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Empty rooms in Vancouver homes could help solve housing affordability problem: architect

Last Updated May 5, 2015 at 7:38 am PST

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Summary

Vancouver architect Michael Geller suggests looking at empty rooms in homes could create housing affordability solutions

Architect Michael Geller thinks empty nesters should rent out their spare rooms

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The city announced last week it’s looking at creating a database of empty homes and condos to help solve Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis.

Local architect and planner Michael Geller suggests looking at the number of empty rooms in homes could lead to solutions.

He says there are a number of empty nesters who often have two bedrooms to spare and thinks adding that to the rental market isn’t a bad idea. “One [solution] is to perhaps to rent out those rooms to students or others looking for accommodation but for most of us, that is not a practical solution.”

He notes many of what he refers to as “last time home buyers” prefer small townhouses over condos and thinks the city should encourage building more of that type of housing to help free up houses for young families. “To start building more housing in the locations where people want to live in order to downsize or as someone else referred to it to ‘right size.'”

Just as the city counts empty homes and condos, it should at least consider the idea of empty rooms.

“I don’t think the city should in anyway regulate how many empty bedrooms people allowed to have in their house but if I can start a conversation about how many empty bedrooms there are and then think about solutions, and then I think we can get somewhere. To that extent, I think it is the city that ultimately decides where new townhouses, smaller houses or duplexes might be built. I do think it’s time for the city to be more assertive,” he adds.