In this section
The following floor plans serve to illustrate the basic principles to be adopted in applying Article 4 of the Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992 – identifying self contained units (SCUs) for aggregation.
In this example, the single SCU is still clearly defined – the original house. Though multi occupied as separate dwellings, with the sharing of kitchen and bathrooms, the original design of the house is still recognisable. There may be door locks, but little else by way of alteration.
Result: The LO will have no obstacles in exercising discretion to aggregate the separate dwellings.
The rule under Article 4 is that a multi occupied property can be aggregated to the self contained unit. In this example, each floor has facilities to serve 2 separate SCUs.
Result: LO can aggregate to 2 dwellings, one for each floor.
Aggregation can only take place where a single SCU exists. Where is the single self contained unit here? Most parts have been altered to provide either self contained units in themselves or kitchen areas have been constructed within the rooms*. Though there may be some sharing of facilities by some occupiers, there has been significant structural alterations to the property that make identification of a single SCU impossible.
Result : No aggregation possible - each separate dwelling should have its own band.
*Note: A ‘rateable’ kitchen must include fixtures and fixed plumbing, sinks etc that are more than de minimis in extent. Free standing white goods, tables, cupboard units, microwave ovens and equipment that is not built in will not qualify as structural alterations in this context.
Example 4: Significant structural alterations have been made
It is becoming increasingly common for multiple dwellings to be created as purpose built clusters, either as purpose built new build or constructed within a converted house, former hotel or other former commercial building. Where the physical layout is similar to the above example, and separate hereditaments exist, then it will be difficult to establish a SCU for aggregation, where every room has a purpose built en-suite bath/shower and WC. Under Article 4 of the Order the LO must take into consideration the degree to which each part has been structurally altered.
NB This is to be distinguished from student’s halls of residence on a college campus where the college or university are the paramount occupiers of the entirety of the composite accommodation and individual hereditaments will not exist. In this case disaggregation principles will apply under Article 3, where depending on the circumstances and layout, the whole block may form the dwelling. See also CTM PN8 para 4.3 ‘halls of residence’.