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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Private residence relief: only or main residence: occupation is a requirement

Except in those cases where the legislation deems a dwelling house to be the residence of an individual which are summarised at CG64477, a dwelling house must have been physically occupied as a residence of the individual at some time during their period of ownership in order to qualify for relief.

It is sometimes argued that private residence relief is due where an individual has acquired a dwelling house with the intention of making it their home, but for reasons outside their control they were forced to sell it without ever having occupied it. In these circumstances relief is not available; an intention to occupy is not enough.

The requirement to physically occupy the dwelling house as a residence is made clear in the judicial comments set out at CG64455 and also in the legislation itself. For example,

  • TCGA1992/S222 (8) allows an individual currently living in job related accommodation relief in respect of a dwelling house which they intend to occupy as a residence in due course. See CG64555+. If occupation was not a pre-requisite to relief, this provision would not be necessary.
  • TCGA92/223 (3) allows relief during certain periods of absence from the dwelling house, see CG65030+. If occupation was not a pre-requisite to relief, absence from the dwelling house would not prevent relief from being available and this provision would be unnecessary.
  • TCGA92/224 (2) allows relief to be adjusted where there has been a change in what has been occupied as an individual’s residence, see CG67460+. If occupation was not a pre-requisite to relief, a change in what is occupied as the residence would not affect the amount of relief due.