Law firm calls for stamp duty holiday extension

Nov 14 | 2020

Property law firm Collyer Bristow has urged the government to extend the stamp duty holiday beyond 31 March, 2021 to allow properties that have exchanged, but are yet to complete, to qualify.

Janet Armstrong-FoxThe call follows a sustained period of unprecedented demand on property lawyers, surveyors and lenders that is likely to result in many homebuyers missing out on the valuable relief.

Janet Armstrong-Fox, Partner and Head of Private Client Property at Collyer Bristow said, “The residential property market remains exceptionally busy at all levels, with the demand on property lawyers and surveyors particularly acute. The lockdown throughout the spring, traditionally a busy period for the residential market, and the SDLT holiday is driving that demand.”

“Buyers are already being asked to ensure they have a surveyor and solicitor on board to see the transaction through, and if they don’t their offers are being turned down. The delays do not, however, just sit with the solicitors or the surveyors. There are many steps in the conveyancing process – from local authority searches taking many weeks to complete to mortgage offers taking twice as long to be processed, translating into weeks of delay.”

Janet concluded, “We would urge the government to consider extending the SDLT holiday or, if that is not viable, to allow sales that have exchanged, but are yet to complete, to qualify.”

As it stands, any transaction that hasn’t completed by 31 March will fail to qualify for the SDLT relief, and that is likely to result in sales falling through.

Photo:  Janet Armstrong-Fox