DWELLINGS

 


 
 
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The details given here are to the best of our knowledge and understanding. Reference should be made to relevant regulations and statutes for the precise legal position.

For the purposes of council tax, dwellings are defined by the Local Government Finance Act of 1992 Section 3 with reference to the definition of the term contained in the General Rate Act of 1967.  A dwelling is any property that would have been categorized as a hereditament by the 1967 act with the exception of non-domestic premises. The General Rate Act was concerned with both domestic and non domestic properties. Non domestic premises continue to be included in rating lists and are generally liable for business rates. Therefore in terms of council tax a dwelling is any property that would have been a hereditament as defined by the General Rate Act and which are not included or required to be included in local or central rating lists, and are not exempt from non domestic rating. This definition can be changed by the secretary of state. In the General Rate Act 1967 Section 115(1) a 'hereditament' is defined as 'A property which is or may become liable to a rate, being a unit of such property which is, or would fall to be, shown as a separate item in the valuation list’.  When dwellings include more than a single self contained unit then each of these units is regarded as a separate dwelling, except in the case of care homes as defined by the Care Standards Act 2000. Multiple properties that are occupied as more than a single unit of living accommodation can be treated as one dwelling at the discretion of the Valuation Office Agency listing officer. Section 66 of the Local Government Finance Act of 1988 states that, subject to certain subsections, properties are dwellings (i.e. domestic) if they are used entirely for the purpose of living accommodation. Appurtenances such as outhouses, gardens, and yards that are enjoyed with or belonging to living accommodation are also considered to be domestic, as are private garages with floor Ares of less than twenty five square meters if they are used entirely or mainly to accommodate private vehicles. Private storage premises are domestic if they are used entirely or mainly for storing domestic items. For the purposes of council tax, composite hereditaments are also dwellings and the value of the dwelling is that portion which is attributed to domestic use as defined by the Local Government Finance Act (1988) Section 66. The relevant legislation is the Council Tax (Situation & Valuation of Dwellings) Regulations SI 550/1992. A single property can contain more than one self contained unit and in these cases it is regarded as consisting of as many dwellings as the number of such units there are within it (The Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992, Article 3). Each of the self contained units is considered to be a dwelling. Thus for example if a property includes five self contained units then it comprises five dwellings. The term self contained in this context is defined as a building or a part of a building which is constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation. This regulation does not apply to care homes within the meaning of the Care Standards Act 2000 and in respect of which a person is registered in accordance with part 2 of that act. Instead of such care homes being regarded for council tax purposes as as many dwellings as the number of self contained units it contains, it is treated as the number of dwellings obtained by adding one to the number of self contained units provided for the occupation of the person registered with respect to the care home. (The Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings, Exempt Dwellings and Discount Disregards) (Amendment) (England) Order 2003.  Article 2 of this order inserts a new article 3A into Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992.) The requirement that the listing officer must regard every self-contained unit as a separate dwelling for council tax is referred to as disaggregation. In the case of a multiple property (i.e.  that would be two or more dwellings as defined by Section 3 of the Local Government Finance Act of 1992) the listing officer can exercise discretion and treat it as a single dwelling, taking into account all relevant circumstances such as the degree to which the separately occupied parts have been altered structurally. The process of treating a multiple property as a single dwelling is referred to as aggregation. However each self contained unit must be assessed as a separate dwelling. With regard to a care home the number of dwellings is given by adding one to the number of self contained units available for occupation by the care provider or registered owner. All the units available for staff or carers or the people who are receiving care are banded together regardless of whether they are self contained. Therefore the accommodation of the owner is disaggregated and the remaining accommodation is aggregated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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