A person's primary residence, or main residence is the dwelling where they usually live, typically a house or an apartment. A person can only have one primary residence at any given time, though they may share the residence with other people. A primary residence is considered to be a legal residence for the purpose of income tax and/or acquiring a mortgage.
Criteria for a primary residence consist mostly of guidelines rather than hard rules, and residential status is often determined on a case-by-case basis.
Use in urban planning
The primary residence is the main dwelling unit on a parcel of land. This term distinguishes this unit from a potential secondary suite.
Definition in specific jurisdictions
If taxpayers own a property but never lived in it, it cannot be considered their main residence even if it is the only property they own. Furthermore, the court would ask itself, in order to determine whether the property is their main residence, whether a reasonable person would consider the property their home in light of all the facts surrounding the case.
A ship cannot be considered a residence, and property on land that a person returns to after being at sea would be considered his main residence.
If a person is forced away from the property that would ordinarily be called "home" because of employment but still occasionally return to that property, then it is still classed as their main residence. In Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council v Stark, Mr Stark, an RAF serviceman, returned to his matrimonial home only when on leave. The court rejected Mrs Stark's claim that she was entitled to the single person's 25% rebate on rates owed the Council. The court ruled that she was not a single person, because the property was also Mr Stark's main residence, that is, where Mr Stark would have lived were it not for the demands of his occupation.
-  Williams v Horsham Dristrict Council  EWCA Civ 39
- Bradford City Council v Anderton (1991) 89 L.G.R. 681
-  R.V.R. 80
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