Words: Ellen Kenny
The new real estate platform aims to encourage the development of vacant properties into living spaces.
If you walk down any street in Ireland, you will see the vacancy epidemic in full-force. And yet, countless people across the country are seeking homes, with many leaving Ireland or forced to the streets.
James McGauran launched Doghouse to counter this rampant dereliction.
Dog-house.ie invites people to post an anonymous photo of a vacant or derelict property in their local area. Its clear interface allows users to easily find vacant properties in their area and indicate their interest in buying the property.
Owners of derelict properties are encouraged to monitor the website to see if their property comes up- and if anyone is interested in taking it off their hands.
Since the website’s launch last week, 130 vacant properties have been listed. Figures from April 2022 suggest that there are more than 90,000 vacant properties across Ireland.
James said he was inspired by the #DerelictIreland campaign organised by Jude Sherry and Frank O’Connor. While #DerelictIreland shared vacant properties in Ireland over Twitter, James wanted to create a dedicated space for these properties to encourage their development.
The name “Doghouse” comes from the informal phrase “to be in the doghouse”, which means to be in a state of disgrace or disfavour. Sound familiar? James thought this sounded a lot like the situation currently facing Generation Rent in Ireland.
According to James, Doghouse represents “a huge opportunity for home-makers, builders, craftspeople, and business owners to utilise and improve the resources already built.”
Of course, anyone interested in buying and developing a vacant property will need the money and resources to do so.
The creator of Doghouse is that owners of derelict properties will likely not sell their premises until they have a real incentive to do so, and state-intervention is likely necessary for real development.
However, people can still raise awareness about the derelict properties in their area. Doghouse hopes that enough people will realise the extent to which their local areas have become derelict.
The more people are aware of it, the more likely those in power have to acknowledge it, which can lead to revival of towns and villages across the country.
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