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HMRC internal manual

Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual

Scope: what is chargeable: land transactions: residential and non-residential property: further notes

In most cases, there will be no difficulty in establishing whether or not a property is residential property.

Use at the effective date of the transaction overrides any past or intended future uses for this purpose. If a building is not in use at the effective date but its last use was as a dwelling, it will be taken to be ‘suitable for use as a dwelling’ and treated as residential property, unless evidence is produced to the contrary.

Undeveloped land is essentially non-residential but may be residential property if, at the effective date, a residential building is being built on it.

Where, at the effective date, an existing building is being adapted or marketed for, or restored to, domestic use, it is treated as residential property.

A building that is used only partly as a dwelling may nevertheless be suitable for use wholly as a dwelling. Its overall suitability will be judged from the facilities available at the effective date. For example, if two rooms of a house were in use as a dentist’s surgery and waiting room at the effective date, HMRC would nevertheless normally consider this property suitable for use as a dwelling.

Cases involving bed and breakfast establishments or guest houses will be treated on their merits. However, a bed and breakfast (B&B) establishment which has bathing facilities, telephone lines etc installed in each room and is available all year round would be considered non-residential.