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The wording is, JP:
'Conversion (other than for housing associations) of a non-residential building into a qualifying dwelling or communal residential building and conversions of residential buildings to a different residential use.'
I am of the opinion that this covers the activity and the registration an an HMO during or post alteration will support the position.
You advise the builder that this is a Paragraph 7 conversion and he or she will apply the reduced rate of VAT.
You apply to the relevant Local Authority for an HMO. There is a possibility that this might be refused if the character of the area does not support the usage.
As far as I am aware, no JP. It is essentially the builder who has to be warned off about a reduced rate job.
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I see you have asked for your money back on the other question. I was going to tell you to do this, but was pre-emptied!