Another DCLG Sheridan Spin Fail – Granny Flat Divisions arn’t charged council tax – Tax Subsidy for Nanny Flats and Sheds in Beds

The furious spinning this morning over the help towards ‘Granny Annexes’ seemed to have instantly dissembled.

Local Governments have been stating that both internal subdivisions and self contained annexes to form ‘granny annexes’ – if ‘occupied by completely dependant relatives over the age of 65’ have not been separately charged council tax since 1997, even if they are empty.  So precisely which problem is this trying to solve? Self contained annexes are valued separately but not charged if occupied by an elderly relative as above.  If then they are not separately valued it will benefit those with elderly relatives not a penny.  Not a granny flat tax break then then but a tax break for ‘nanny flats’ and even ‘sheds with beds’ type conversions of rear outbuildings etc.  by people claiming they are ‘relatives’ which they always do anyway to argue that the subdivision or annex/outbuilding is not development or permitted development anyway.

And also as we stated earlier subdivision to form accommodation for the same member of the household wont normally need separate planning consent.  to be more specific in it remains in the same planning unit sharing the same access, parking area etc, separate self contained access will require consent (UCO 1987 Article 4).  The following advice from one district sums up the issue well

The use of existing rooms within a dwellinghouse for the purpose of accommodating a dependent relative or member of domestic staff would not normally require any form of planning permission. However the person using the annex should be clearly associated with the occupants of the principal dwelling house e.g. dependent relative or domestic staff working for the residents of the principal dwelling. Planning Permission will be required to create a separate flat with an independent entrance, which could either be let or sold separately to the principal dwelling as this would constitute the creation of a new habitable dwelling irrespective of who is occupying it. Such a separate use of accommodation would be considered as “primary residential accommodation” and as such, would require planning permission.

The key caselaw is Uttlesford D.C v SSE & RJ Whitw 1992 which established that it is not necessary for a relative of the occupier of the main dwellinghouse in order to maintain additional living accommodation in the same planning unit.

In a case regarding the use of outbuildings as a separate dwelling an inspector taking note of the Uttlesford case and was satisfied that occupation by the two sons of the residents of the main house maintained the planning unit (Epping Forest DCS 11/11/94 DCS No.O55-153-386)

Furthermore conditions which prevent certain rooms in a dwelling being used for living or sleeping accommodation what been found unreasonable (Rochford D.C 12/4/2000 DCS No )41-271-352.

So it will only require PP when it is a separate dwelling forming a seperate planning unit.  Bizarrely the changes would make it far easier to create ‘sheds with beds’ type units or ‘nanny annexes’.

Yet another example of an embarrassing cock up of spin by DCLG through not doing simple fact checking or checking how changes ‘join up’ across a department head (with associated quiffs) must roll.

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