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HMRC internal manual

Capital Allowances Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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General: Definitions: Dwelling house

CAA01/S531

There are several references to dwelling house in CAA2001. The term appears in Part 2 (plant and machinery allowances), Part 3 (industrial buildings allowances), Part 3A (business premises renovation allowances), Part 6 (research and development allowances) and Part 10 (assured tenancy allowances).

For Part 10 (ATA) only “dwelling house” is given the same meaning as in the Rent Act 1977 (CAA01/S531).

There is no definition of “dwelling house” for the other Parts and so it takes its ordinary meaning. A dwelling house is a building, or a part of a building; its distinctive characteristic is its ability to afford to those who use it the facilities required for day-to-day private domestic existence. In most cases there should be little difficulty in deciding whether or not particular premises comprise a dwelling house, but difficult cases may need to be decided on their particular facts. In such cases the question is essentially one of fact.

A person’s second or holiday home or accommodation used for holiday letting is a dwelling house. A block of flats is not a dwelling house although the individual flats within the block may be. A hospital, a prison, a nursing home or hotel (run as a trade and offering services, whether by the owner-occupier or by a tenant) are not dwelling houses.

A University hall of residence may be one of the most difficult types of premises to decide because there are so many variations in student accommodation. On the one hand, an educational establishment that provides on-site accommodation purely for its own students, where, for example, the kitchen and dining facilities are physically separate from the study-bedrooms and may not always be accessible to the students, is probably an institution, rather than a “dwelling-house”. But on the other hand, cluster flats or houses in multiple occupation, that provide the facilities necessary for day-to-day private domestic existence (such as bedrooms with en-suite facilities and a shared or communal kitchen/diner and sitting room) are dwelling-houses. Such a flat or house would be a dwelling-house if occupied by a family, a group of friends or key workers, so the fact that it may be occupied by students is, in a sense, incidental.

The common parts (for example the stairs and lifts) of a building which contains two or more dwelling houses will not, however, comprise a dwelling-house.