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HMRC internal manual

Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual

SDLT - higher rates for additional dwellings: Meaning of 'dwelling' - general

“Dwelling” takes its everyday meaning; that is a building, or a part of a building that affords 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 are a dwelling.

The following are dwellings:

  • holiday homes, including those which cannot be used all year round, and furnished holiday lettings.

The meaning of “dwelling” also includes buildings under construction that are being built or adapted for use to serve as a dwelling.

Depending on its nature purpose-built student accommodation is treated as either residential or non-residential property for the purposes of SDLT.  The purchase of non-residential accommodation is not liable to the higher rates and owning such a property will not cause you to be within the higher rates on a subsequent purchase[Para 18(7)].  This only applies to purpose built student accommodation and not an ordinary house or flat for students to live in.

For the purposes of the higher rates an off-plan purchase will also count as a dwelling where – 

  • contracts have been exchanged for the purchase of a building, or part of building, which is to be constructed or adapted for use as a single dwelling by the vendor,
  • the contract is substantially performed, and 
  • at the time of substantial performance the construction or adaptation of the building has not yet begun.



`Para` references are to paragraphs in Schedule 4ZA of the Finance Act 2003.