The general rule for student properties is that purpose built student accommodation is exempt from the higher rates. Most student properties are less than the current residential threshold of £125,000 meaning there is usually no SDLT payable. If however the buyer is purchasing more than one student property together and the aggregate price exceeds £125,000 SDLT would be payable at the normal rate. There may be reliefs available depending on the circumstances.
If the property is residential accommodation to be used by students it is considered a “dwelling” and where more than one dwelling is purchased, multiple dwelling relief would be available.
If the buyer is purchasing more than 6 dwellings, they would have the choice whether to pay SDLT under the residential regime and claim multiple dwelling relief, or under the commercial regime.
If the student accommodation is halls of residence it is not considered a “dwelling”, meaning the SDLT regime would be commercial and no multiple dwelling relief would be available.
Whether it is halls of residence (and therefore not a “dwelling”) will depend on the facts, being:
HMRC lists the following indicators that a building is a hall of residence:
- The building has planning permission as a residential institution (use class C2).
- The accommodation is limited to students and staff of a particular educational institution and the institution is involved in placing its students in the building.
- The building is not split into units that are suitable for residential use as a single dwelling.
- Individual study-bedrooms are accessed from corridors, staircases or other communal areas to which all the occupants of the building, or part of the building, have access.
- Common living areas and facilities, or services, for eating or cooking are provided in the building, or part of the building, for use by all occupants.
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SDLT MANUAL SDLTM29957
https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/6-522-4723?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true SDLT Manual: Guidance on multiple dwellings relief for student accommodation.