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converting detached garage into granny flat for mum HELP!!!
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# 1
emmamc252
Old 16-06-2011, 12:14 PM
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Default converting detached garage into granny flat for mum HELP!!!

Hi, I have NO IDEA where to post this but am REALLY looking for some help.
OK, basically my Dad is very ill, he has between months and a year or so left to live. He has been ill for about 28 years, during this time my mum had to give up work and became his full time carer. Previous to this she was a statistician in the health service but she has now not worked for over 20 years.
During this time my mum and dad have struggled financially, they had 2 young children to raise etc. (my dad went blind and had first heart attack when I was 2 and my sister was 4 months old)
My Mum didn't want me and my sister to miss out on the life she felt we should have had if this hadn't happened to my dad, and to facilitate this, rightly or wrongly, she amassed a LARGE credit card debt. Neither of us knew about it until about 6 years ago and I still don't think we know the full extent.
She has had the interest on them frozen but I know it has been very stressfull for her, they do own their house outright so she can't put in for bankrupcy or do that 5 year thing or she will lose this, I think.
Anyway, basically at the minute her and my dad are looking at selling their house and "down-sizing" to a flat or a cheaper bungalow. Obviously at the minute its not the easiest time to sell.

My husband and I have been discussing this, and although this seems like a good idea now, it would allow mum to clear all her debts etc, when something does happen to my Dad I am really concerned about what will happen to her. Because of my dads problems they have lead a very secluded life for 20 years now, she has maybe 2 friends but no real social life and personally I feel that when something happens to my dad, expecting her to go get a full time job and just suddenly live on her own etc is just, well something that she doesn't deserve.
She paid into her pension for about 10 years with the NHS and when she turns 65 (4 years away) she will be entitled to a lump sum of about 7000 and then a low monetary payment each month. I am not sure how much. Obviously her carers allowance etc will stop immediately so she will have to go and get a job, however I think that working part time would be enough for her.

anyway, Me and the hubby would also like to not leave her living alone for the rest of her life, again she just doesn't deserve it. We have a nice house that we plan to live in for at least teh next 20 years, and in the back garden we have a detatched single garage.
Ok our house is not a huge place and we don't have a big double garage but we would like to look into if it might be possible to convert the garage into a granny flat for my mum. Then she and us would still have our independence but she would never really be alone, she would be with us. We are expecting our first child in 5 weeks so by the time this all came about she would have at least 1 grandchild here to play with and we do all get on very well.

The garage is in the back garden, it is brick built and relatively large for a single garage, it also has a small coal shed on the back. There is room at the back of it where we could extend the building if neccessary. My question is, do you think it is possible to turn a detatched garage into a NICE place for my mum to live? It does have elctric but would need plumbing, heating, flooring etc??? I have looked online and can find very little information on the topic, but a lot of "double garage conversions come up." is it too small? am I kidding myself that we might be able to do this for my mum???

If anyone can suggest where I might START to look into this kind of a project I would be really greatful. I am hoping the cost of the conversion would be a LOT less than my mum having to buy a new smaller house, the cheapest in our area is about 150,000 so I am thinking a garage conversion would cost what 20-30k? I have no idea, this is just what seems logical in my head.

It would mean so much if I could do this for my mum, it would mean she could share our cars, we have good access to public transport here anyway, she could eat with us most nights but would still have access to the kitchen and would prob want a little kitchenettte in the conversion for her too?? I'm thinking like a studio apartment type thing. Just want to see if its possible before I speak to her because I don't want to get her hopes up.
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# 2
Seanymph
Old 16-06-2011, 12:21 PM
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Anything is possible - but I personally wouldn't invest any time in this without seeing if your mum would be interested.

She may have other plans.
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# 3
Doozergirl
Old 16-06-2011, 12:25 PM
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Yes it's possible. But how big is it? It shouldn't really cost that much if you're treating it as an annex and sharing the same electric supply etc. Drainage is the big deal, depending on how far it is from the inspection chamber.
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# 4
*miaomiao*
Old 16-06-2011, 1:26 PM
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Probably good to check on whether you need a change of use/planning permission at all. It might be really straightforward, but better to check first.

p.s. Just wanted to add my best wishes for your family. Sounds like a difficult time for everyone!
Thanks to all the lovely people who contribute their advice!
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# 5
sonastin
Old 16-06-2011, 1:30 PM
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Biggest issues I can see are plumbing (as doozergirl says) and insulation. What is the garage construction at the moment? Is it single skin? Could you insulate around the outside of it? If you have to start building internal walls to create a space for insulation, what sort of size room would you be left with? You'll probably cut down the size by at least a foot in each direction to get in enough insulation to comply with building regs - can you afford to do that and still have a decent size room?
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# 6
G_M
Old 16-06-2011, 1:34 PM
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You WILL need planning permission AND Buildings Regulations certification.

However you are asking (I think - long rambly post was too much for me!) about size and cost.

Size: my instinct is a single garage is too small. However buy some graph paper, do a scale drawing, divide the spase into .... living area, kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area, whatever you plan. Put in the basic furniture and see if it all fits!

Price: Use the various DIY/self-build forums where you'll find rough costs per square metre. Then refer to your scale drawing!
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# 7
Mojisola
Old 16-06-2011, 1:50 PM
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Because of my dads problems they have lead a very secluded life for 20 years now, she has maybe 2 friends but no real social life and personally I feel that when something happens to my dad, expecting her to go get a full time job and just suddenly live on her own etc is just, well something that she doesn't deserve.

She paid into her pension for about 10 years with the NHS and when she turns 65 (4 years away) she will be entitled to a lump sum of about 7000 and then a low monetary payment each month. I am not sure how much. Obviously her carers allowance etc will stop immediately so she will have to go and get a job, however I think that working part time would be enough for her.

anyway, Me and the hubby would also like to not leave her living alone for the rest of her life, again she just doesn't deserve it. We have a nice house that we plan to live in for at least teh next 20 years, and in the back garden we have a detatched single garage.
[/QUOTE]

Why would she need to work? Isn't she old enough to claim her pension?

The intention is good but you have to look at the situation in the round, such as, what would happen if you died young - your mother would be left living with her son-in-law and any future partner he may have. That might not be a great arrangement.

Her future will be tied up with yours. Although you're planning to stay in the same house, things can change. If you need to move, she will have to move as well.

As you have a sister, you will have to take into account how she will view it. Will she want a lump sum from you if your mother died because your mother's money was spent on improving your house?

Think around the subject and talk about all the eventualities.

She isn't very old and will have the chance to make a new life for yourself. Keeping her independence could be important to her.
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# 8
lincroft1710
Old 16-06-2011, 5:00 PM
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It may make more sense to knock the garage down and start afresh. Even a large single would barely have enough room for a bedsit, kit and bath. I was considering doing this myself some 9 years ago, but the cost in relation to the value of the existing house was prohibitive.
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# 9
pleasedelete
Old 16-06-2011, 5:27 PM
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You will need planning as others have said. Depending on where you live this can be very hard as generally (and there are of course exceptions) councils and other residents dont like garages converted to houses.

In some cases the original planning or covenants expressly forbid it.

You mortgage lender may have a view as well as you are basically splitting up the asset.

Call the council.
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# 10
Caroline_a
Old 16-06-2011, 6:17 PM
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I think before you do anything you need to have the conversation with her. She may love the thought of the new challenge of going back to work, meeting new people, and using her brain again. You appear to be pensioning her off when she is still relatively young, and maybe she doesnt want to look after a baby again - I have to say, much as I love my grandson, the thought of having to care for him on a regular basis would fill me with dread as I love the flexibility I have now that my children are all grown up!

I'm sure you are doing this with the best on intentions, but she needs to buy into this as much as you. Personally (and I'm only a few years younger than your mum), I like my own space.

Additionally, have you thought that if she lives with you, it will be taken for granted that you will be looking after her if she becomes old and infirm... not an easy choice with a young family.

Lots to be thought about and discussed!
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# 11
dancingfairy
Old 16-06-2011, 6:33 PM
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I just had to pick up on your first post. You have assumed/been told that the 5 year thing would be no good - in fact IVAa's are actually designed for home-owners. Also with regards to bankruptcy it is not guaranteed she will loose her home.
I suggest that your parents speak to someone like the CCCS or National Debtline who can go through ALL the financial options available to them so they can make a proper informed decision rather than assuming things/having incorrect info.
I also would presume that your mother may be entitled to certain benefits if you dad passed away - this is something you should look into - he may also have insurance or differenct cover through an old work/pension arrangements/mortgage insurance etc which should be explored.

Best of Luck at this difficult time
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