§ Mr. Heddle
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement about the rating position of show houses.
§ Mr. King
Rates are a tax on the beneficial occupation of property. Show houses are used to indicate to potential purchasers the nature of the product that the developer has for sale, ie houses. The developers can therefore be deemed to be in beneficial occupation of such houses and accordingly show houses are liable for taxes.412W
While a show house would be valued in the same manner as other dwelling-houses and would thus have a similar rateable value to other identical houses on the estate, it is not used as a private dwelling and therefore does not attract domestic rate relief.
I am satisfied that the existing arrangement provides a fair means of rating show houses and that such houses should continue to be rated.