Last edited 23 Sep 2016

Dwellinghouse definition

See also: Types of dwelling


[edit] Approved document B definition

Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 1 Dwelling houses, defines a dwellinghouse as:

A unit of residential accommodation occupied (whether or not as a sole or main residence):

  • By a single person or by people living together as a family.
  • By not more than six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents.

It does not include a flat or a building containing a flat.

A dwellinghouse is regarded as large if it has more than one storey and any of those storeys exceed 200m^2.

[edit] Approved document L1A definition

Approved document L1A, Conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings suggests that the word ‘dwelling’ means:

‘...a self-contained unit designed to accommodate a single household.‘

It notes that ‘…buildings exclusively containing rooms for residential purposes, such as nursing homes, student accommodation and similar, are not dwellings

[edit] UK Census definition

The UK Census identifies types of dwelling as; houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes and bedsits.

The 2001 Census definition of a dwelling is:

'a self-contained unit of accommodation. Self-containment is where all the rooms (including kitchen, bathroom and toilet) in a household’s accommodation are behind a single door which only that household can use. Non-self contained household spaces at the same address should be counted together as a single dwelling. Therefore a dwelling can consist of one self-contained household space or two or more non-self-contained household spaces at the same address.

'Ancillary dwellings (eg former ‘granny annexes’) are included provided they are self-contained, pay separate council tax from the main residence, do not share access with the main residence (eg a shared hallway) and there are no conditional restrictions on occupancy.'

For more information see:, Definitions of general housing terms.

[edit] English Housing Survey

The English Housing Survey Housing Stock Report, 2014-15, prepared by the Department of Communities and Local Government, defines a dwelling as:

'A unit of accommodation which may comprise one or more household spaces (a household space is the accommodation used or available for use by an individual household).'

A dwelling may be classified as shared or unshared. A dwelling is shared if:

  • The household spaces it contains are ‘part of a converted or shared house’, or
  • Not all of the rooms (including kitchen, bathroom and toilet, if any) are behind a door that only that household can use, and
  • There is at least one other such household space at the same address with which it can be combined to form the shared dwelling.

Dwellings that do not meet these conditions are unshared dwellings.

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