Bookmark and Share


Council Tax is charged on dwellings, including houses, flats and other forms of domestic accommodation. When council tax was introduced the definition of domestic property was extended to include all self contained units of accommodation. Under the rating system of property taxation, which preceded the poll tax, rates were based on rateable occupation, or hereditaments. This meant that if a building was under a single rateable occupation it would be liable for one rates bill covering the entire property. This definition of dwelling was retained for council tax purposes, and therefore some domestic properties could be banded for council tax because they are hereditaments. In addition to hereditaments a new definition of dwelling was formulated – self contained units. These are defined as “a building or part of a building which has been constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation".* Article 3 of The Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992 SI No 549 states "Where a single property contains more than one self contained unit, for the purposes of Part I of the Act [Local Government Finance Act 1992], the property shall be treated as comprising as many dwellings as there are such units included in it and each such unit shall be treated as a dwelling." Article 2 of the order states "single property" means property which would, apart from this Order, be one dwelling within the meaning of section 3 of the Act. (i.e. one ‘hereditament’ dwelling defined by occupation)

This meant that a single property would be split up or divided into as many dwellings as there were self contained units within it. Each self contained unit would be counted as a dwelling and assigned to a valuation band. Therefore some flats are dwellings because they are self contained units. This process of splitting properties into separate dwellings for council tax is referred to as disaggregation. Council tax is used to contribute towards the funding of local services and the amount payable by households is based on the valuation band their dwelling is assigned to and the rate the local authority applies to that band. Flats that are dwellings because they are self contained units will be banded for council tax purposes. Some flats are dwellings for council tax because they are hereditaments and these would have been defined as dwellings under the old local rates system. These would also be banded for council tax. Some flats may be exempt from council tax, for example empty granny flats, dependant relative exemption.

*The Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992 SI No 549









Council Tax Benefits Charges Rates Bands Exemptions
Copyright (2007)