Is garden land residential property?


This is a question that has excised property lawyers and tax consultants for some time, so what is the answer to selling garden land?  There is finally some resolution.

Residential property is defined in section 116 of the Finance Act 2003. Unfortunately some uncertainty arose from this definition as to whether or not garden land sold separately from its dwelling is also treated as residential property for stamp duty land tax purposes. HMRC have added to the confusion by sometimes advising that garden land sold separately from its dwelling was non-residential property.

HMRC have now clarified the position. HMRC’s “firm view is that where land within section 116(1)(b) or (c) is sold separately (without the dwelling), the land remains residential”. Garden land is therefore residential. They provide further guidance and add that the acquisition of garden land would be treated as residential even if the land had been fenced or walled off or otherwise been made inaccessible to the seller.

Following the acquisition of the garden land, it is likely to be treated as non-residential land on a future sale as it is no longer part of the garden of the residential property. This would, of course, not be the case if a new dwelling had been constructed on the land.

The effect of the garden land being treated as residential for stamp duty land tax purposes generally means a higher amount of stamp duty land tax paid on the acquisition.


This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Tamzin Mandelli

Partner, Commercial Property

Prior to joining Hart Brown, Tamzin had worked for a local authority and for both regional and national firms. Tamzin is a Partner with over...

Partner, Commercial Property

Tamzin Mandelli

Prior to joining Hart Brown, Tamzin had worked for a local authority and for both regional and national firms.

Tamzin is a Partner with over 23 years' experience and she is based at our Woking office. Tamzin specialises in all aspects of commercial property including the sale and purchase of shops, offices and restaurants, landlord and tenant matters (from granting the new lease, through to the various licences for works, transfers and so on) and dealing with the eventual termination of a lease. She is also experienced at dealing with development work including option agreements and acquisitions.

Hart Brown is recognised in the Legal 500 2024 edition for real estate work in the South East and the entry states “With substantial experience in sales and purchases of properties, landlord and tenant matters and development agreements, Tamzin Mandelli 'provides a high level of service’ and ‘is able to deliver what is needed’.”

What do Tamzin's clients say about her?

"We have just worked on a commercial transaction together, which was by far the most challenging case I have dealt with (for a variety of reasons). Tamzin was extremely efficient and salvaged the transaction multiple times... I highly recommend her!"

“Thank you very much for all of your help and support. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and hope to do so again in the future!”

"...thank you for your support with X, it's been good fun. Wish you were handling a commercial purchase for me! … lesson learnt, will place with you next time!"

“The service I received was efficient, professional and the members I dealt with both past and present have been helpful…and very personable.”