Buyers In Uproar Following SDLT Announcement

In the Chancellors speech last week, Rishi Sunak announced the changes to stamp duty land tax (SDLT) which saw the threshold raised from £125,000 to £500,000 with immediate effect.

The reaction from professionals in the sector was mixed to say the least, with some saying that amendments to mortgage products would have a more beneficial impact on first-time buyers. Whereas SDLT, can help those moving up the ladder or those wishing to downsize.

Understandably, those people that already had property transactions in the pipeline, which were then put on hold due to the lockdown, continued their transaction once the English housing market re-opened on 13 May 2020.

Ruth Mann, a keyworker who continued with her transaction once the market was re-opened contacted Today’s Conveyancer to talk about how she felt unfairly treated. She said:

“We are both key workers and worked tirelessly to keep the sale / purchase going during lockdown to assist the economy . We thought we were doing the right thing.

“We completed 7 days ago paying £20,000 of our hard earned savings in stamp duty. Had we completed today it would be £5000.

“We are considering a Judicial Review and have written to Rushi (sic) and our local MP. Maybe you could do the same.”

Ruth isn’t the only one who feels that she’s done the wrong thing. Other people also vented their frustrations, and offered to sign the petition that is currently doing the rounds asking the Chancellor to backdate the stamp duty cut to 13 May 2020.

Heidi Woodham, commented:

“I completed on 30th June and paid £13,500 stamp duty. I exchanged and completed in 10 days to suit someone in the chain. If we had waited 3 weeks we would be completing tomorrow and I would have paid no stamp duty. I am so bitterly disappointed and have lost sleep over this. I have signed the government petition to backdate to post lockdown moves and I urge readers of this article to do the same.”

JONP, commented:

“Totally unfair. I had no other option but to complete my new build purchase during the pandemic. Couldn’t even move in the place or get our furniture from storage. This should really be back dated to when the lock down took place. Especially for those who were unable to receive any form of financial payments such as salary during the pandemic.”

Gemma, wrote:

“We completed 14 days before the 8th of July and paid 20,000 in stamp duty. We had to hold off moving because of lockdown but then turned everything around as quickly as possible not wanting to pull out even though it did feel like a risk going ahead with the news property prices were falling. We feel sick that had we waiting just 14 more days we could have saved 15,000. I sincerely hope they back date the stamp duty holiday to the start of lockdown, so many people may find themselves in difficult financial situations which could be supported with a refund. Fingers crossed!”

Jo, commented:

“We are the same, we feel betrayed by the government and our solicitor after we braved the move to help keep the economy going, we were going to wait a bit longer until end of summer to complete but our solicitor advised us there was no stamp duty holiday on the cards despite our inkling. My husband is self employed so we have not had any support during lock down and this is a further kick in the guts, we pay a lot in tax over the years but never seem to get any benefits back for being hard working! We paid £13k stamp duty on 25 June and that would have helped my husband’s business which is now likely to fold. This has taken the shine off our lovely new home!”

Linda Sakey, wrote:

“My husband and I are in the same situation that we didn’t want to let the seller down so we carried on and completed on the 9 June and paid £17,600 on stamp duty now to scrap the same stamp duty and my work is not secure now. I hope the government will look to back date it for people that complete during or after the lockdown.”

Amanda, commented:

“I agree, I was made redundant mid May by a heartless boss who couldn’t be bothered to subscribe to the furlough scheme. I needed to move desperately for personal reasons and decided to start what I had finished. I parted with 12.5k stamp duty on the 29th June. Wednesday’s news left me crying for two days. I’ve written to my local councillor, Boris, Rishi and to a lady called Sarah Ryan at a conveyancing firm who are lobbying the govt to back date the scheme. I’ve not heard back from anybody. Is there anything that can be done. Is there anyone else I can write to? 12 grand is a life changing amount of money, I would happily stand outside govt and scream a d shout if need be. If someone gas any ideas on how we can champion this cause, please please let me know.”

Chris, wrote:

“Completed two weeks ago and paid £9750.00 in SDLT. Moved to an empty house, could have waited a further two weeks to complete had we have known we would save £9750.00….

“Hopefully the Government backdate this policy as clearly it has been unfair.”

PS, wrote:

“We completed on 31st March and on 1st April I was advised I was to be furloughed. On 23rd May my company announced they were starting the redundancy process and I’m still waiting to hear if I have a job to return to. I’m still on furlough and my earnings are significantly lower and basically just covers the mortgage. We were unable to move during the height of the pandemic and we were forced to pay rent and our new mortgage until restrictions lifted. Living in London we paid a hefty £20,000 in stamp duty, to get £15,000 refunded would mean we can get central heating in the very old property that we purchased. With my furloughed salary we are looking at a cold bleak winter without heating. Not quite how we imagined our first year in our first house.”

These pleas have also been backed up by Sarah Ryan, who has written a letter to the housing minister urging that the SDLT change be back dated.

It appears that at the moment, there will be some debate regarding when the SDLT change should/shouldn’t have come into effect. However, at some point there must be a line drawn in the sand at some point.

Personally, for me, who sold her property during lockdown and is currently looking for my family’s forever home, I for one am glad to see the SDLT changes. I believe they should be backdated to when the English property market re-opened on 13 May 2020 following the lockdown period.

3 Comments

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    COVID -19 Schemes targeting other sectors was backdated why this isn’t is baffling and so unfair. I paid out nearly £8k in stamp duty till now I don’t have furniture in my new house, I had an inkling that the government may do this but bowed to the pressure from the developers that I may lose the house so finally completed. It definitely has taken the shine off the house and I wished I had not fallen to the pressure, £8k would go a long for my family at this time with 2 small children

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    My home purchase (which was relatively simple with a small chain) was put on hold when house moves were banned at the end of March, and when we finally exchanged Contracts in May with an additional Rider placed on the Contract to cover a “coronavirus event” my solicitor explained it was still only 50% likely to reach completion. Having already given my landlord notice I was leaving it was particularly stressful as the sale could still have fallen through. I cashed in my pension early to cover the £5,000 stamp duty and completed 24th June, if we’d only waited 14 more days!

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