*IMPORTANT INFORMATION – YOU MUST READ*
CORONAVIRUS AND STAMP DUTY LAND TAX CHANGES – YOUR TRANSACTION MAY NOT COMPLETE BY 31ST MARCH 2021
The Government introduced a Stamp Duty holiday which meant that no Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was payable for MANY transactions (not all) and was significantly reduced on others. This ends on 31st March 2021.
From 1st April 2021 SDLT will become payable on PURCHASES unless the current regime is extended by the Government.
Due to the fact that all property transactions are often reliant on a number of different parties and need many different events to fall into place within a certain timeframe, it is simply not possible for us to be able to guarantee that completion will occur by a certain, preferred date.
At present (largely due to the Pandemic), property transactions are taking much, MUCH longer than usual. Delays are caused by many factors; busy lenders, mortgage offers being received, valuations and surveys, local authorities, the high demand and pressures faced by all conveyancers, sudden changes in client circumstances, backlogs at the Land and Probate Registries, and delays in the divorce courts, etc.
The current national average transaction time has now increased to 18-20 weeks (nearly 5 months) but this is frankly a conservative figure and our experience tells us “longer than that”. This is subject to change due to the ongoing changeable Government guidelines including external and other factors beyond our control. Whilst we will endeavour to complete your transaction as quickly as possible, we will not (because we are not able to) guarantee the time your transaction will take.
This means that if you are a buyer and your PURCHASE does not complete on or before 31st March 2021, you will have to revert to and pay SDLT under the previous rules.
If you are a SELLER, and your buyer experiences any additional SDLT costs then this is a matter for your buyer only and we will not be held liable for any increased sums that may have to be paid out by the buyer.
Experience suggests that there is rarely such a thing as a “simple” transaction and as we get nearer the 31st March deadline, it is inevitable that stress and frustration will become greater for those involved in the buying and selling of property.
We are advising all our property clients and potential clients to be aware of this issue and to be REALISTIC . Plan for the worst by making sure that you have funds available to pay any additional SDLT that may become payable. You may also be faced for example with a situation where lenders affordability criteria changes closer to 31st March. For example, lenders may need to take into account the funds required for additional SDLT payments post 31st March 2021. This may result in lenders withdrawing mortgage offers previously given. Please discuss such concerns directly with your lender where applicable.
The important factor for us is to ensure that you are fully informed of the risks and are still happy to proceed in full knowledge that completion by 31 March 2021 (and the financial benefit this may provide) is not a guarantee. Should you have any concerns or queries, please let us know.
We also suggest you question and treat with suspicion any promises made by other legal professionals, or financial advisers, mortgage brokers, estate agents, etc offering to guarantee a transaction time or to charge greater fees to get it through in time.
By continuing your instruction with us, you acknowledge that Beightons Solicitors make NO guarantees whatsoever that your matter will be completed by 31st March 2021. In that event, Beightons Solicitors shall not be held responsible for any additional SDLT or expenses that may become payable, or such other financial implications that may arise if your transaction does not complete by 31st March 2021.
We strongly suggest that you visit https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro to calculate any SDLT payable should your matter complete after 31 March 2021.