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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

Dwellings - an explanation of terms: what ‘designed as a dwelling or number of dwellings’ means: Note 2(a) - self-contained living accommodation

A dwelling consists of self-contained living accommodation when the basic elements of living (sleeping, washing, preparation of food, and so on) are located together within a defined area and are not shared by more than one household or tenant.

A ‘bed-sit’ wouldn’t qualify as self-contained living accommodation because some of the elements of living are shared with other ‘bed-sits’, whereas a studio flat where all the elements of living are contained within the flat would be self-contained living accommodation.

In Oldrings Development Kingsclere Limited (VTD 17769), the Tribunal held that a new studio room did consist of self-contained living accommodation. It contained certain facilities such as a WC with hand basin in a separate room, a kitchen sink and sufficient electrical points for cooking appliances, its own separate central heating and hot water system but it didn’t have a shower unit or bath installed.

In SA Whiteley (VTD 11292), the Tribunal held that the use of the singular of ‘a building’ in Note 2 meant that the basic elements of living had to be contained within one building and not spread around several buildings.

In Agudas Israel Housing Association Ltd (VTD 18798), the Tribunal held that a bedsitting room with en suite shower room (one of eight), constructed as an enlargement to an existing care home, was self-contained living accommodation.