A room with a view could prove costly under Government plans to shake up the council tax.
Homes looking out over rolling fields and hills, or sited next to a golf course, will attract sharply higher bills under changes being considered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
An American computer model purchased by the ODPM will for the first time consider "value indicators" when working out council tax bandings.
It means that additional features such as the number of garages, the presence of a conservatory or an extra-long garden, will be taken into account when calculating bills - pushing thousands of homes in rural parts of the West Midlands into higher council tax bandings.
The move, which is part of the Government's longawaited revaluation of council tax bands, was sharply criticised by Caroline Spelman, the shadow Local Government Secretary.
Mrs Spelman (Con Meriden) said the ODPM was intent on introducing "another stealth tax".
The idea that householders enjoying nice views would have to pay more was akin to the 17th century windows tax, she claimed.
Mrs Spelman said the Government was moving away from basing council tax on the cost of delivering local services toward a system where people would be penalised for enjoying a pleasant environment.
Mrs Spelman added: "It is going to discriminate against people who live in rural areas and it is profoundly unjust.
"What makes this even more alarming is the fact that it comes at a time when local government is already facing a £2 billion shortfall in grants, which will in itself increase council tax bills by an average ten per cent."
The ODPM has invested in a £45 million computer system enabling it to identify more easily homes with garages, greenhouses, large patios and extensive gardens. Other rural additions, including stables and summer houses, would also push the property into the highest council tax bands.
The system is programmed to consider 66 features, from whether the house is close to a golf course or conservation area to whether it overlooks the sea, hills or lakes.
The changes represent the first revaluation of properties since 1991. More than 1,400 valuation officers employed by the ODPM will visit every house in the land to check for alterations.