Airbnb Shipping Container and Student Shipping Container Housing

Airbnb Shipping Container and Student Shipping Container Housing

BBC Unexpected Elements podcast this week concluded with a brief piece about staying in an Airbnb Shipping Container and Student Shipping Container Housing.

Chhavi Sachdev: I’ve experienced firsthand what a container feels like because I went to stay in an Airbnb which was a tiny house and it was basically a container refitted to be a little space and it was so compact and so nicely designed it was quite, quite amazing.

Marnie Chesterton: Did they cut windows into it? Or did you just stay in a box?

Chhavi Sachdev: No, they had cut windows into it. And the bathroom was surprisingly spacious. I was quite impressed with it. The designer must have done a good job. Everything was sort of compact and everything had a space and little nooks and shelves for all the things you could possibly need.

Marnie Chesterton : So, I’ve lived in a couple of cities that have chronic housing shortages and certainly in Amsterdam when I was living there they’d worked out that they could make student accommodation by just stacking up shipping containers and then kind of punching a door and a window in them. And there wasn’t a great deal of work that was done to make them look not like a shipping container. But, I think the students were just grateful for somewhere to live.

Chhavi Sachdev: Yeah, I think it’s got great potential for all kinds of space issues

BBC Unexpected Elements, January 11, 2024

Shipping Containers Student Housing, Le Havre France, Normandy
Photo by Philippe Alès

If you search “shipping containers student housing” you will find photos of student apartments made from shipping containers all over the world.

Inside 20-foot Studio Container Home
Bob’s Containers

One of the links led me to this listing on eBay.

This 20-foot container is insulated with closed cell spray foam in the floor, ceiling and all of the walls.  It has 125 amp 12 slot panel breaker box.  It has one door and one window.

Inside 20-foot Studio Container Home
Bob’s Containers

The 20-foot container is finished inside with white shiplap siding and vinyl flooring.

Bob’s Containers 20 ft Efficiency

Inside The Joshua
40-foot Container Home from Bob’s Containers

Bob’s Containers lists larger 40-foot containers. This one has 320 square feet with a 10-foot ceiling.

Bob’s Containers 40 ft Container Home – “The Joshua”

Paul and Sarah’s Shipping Container Home
Photo by ROLU

This backyard cabin is made out of two 20-foot shipping containers.

Shipping Container House in Sepeteri Nigeria
Photo by Milare99

Before shipping container sizes were standardized, they came in all kinds of sizes. When the off-sized ones were retired, they were turned into housing in a lot of places.

Legal Shipping Container Housing

So, how difficult is it to legally live in a shipping container home? It depends on where you live and how you go about it. This is what HUD has to say:

I would like to convert shipping containers into homes. Can they be listed or sold as manufactured housing?

All manufactured homes are built to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, 24 CFR Part 3280. Manufactured homes are transported in one or more sections on a permanent chassis and display a red certification label on the exterior of each transportable section.

Shipping containers that are converted into housing units are subject to state and local building codes like modular and site-built homes. Converted shipping containers cannot be accepted as a HUD-code manufactured home unless they are provided with a permanent chassis and are transported to the site on their own running gear and otherwise comply with all HUD Standards and Regulations for manufactured homes.

HUD U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development FAQ

Bob’s Containers, with the listings I saw on eBay has an FAQ page that has a lot of answers. He also has financing available.

Bob’s Containers Custom Shipping Containers FAQ