Law Society think moving now before SDLT deadline is ‘longshot’

Solicitors’ leaders are urging consumers to have realistic expectations about achieving their dream move before the looming stamp duty holiday deadline.

Many people are keen to conclude their sales and purchases prior to Christmas, while others entering the housing market in the New Year will still be hoping to take advantage of the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and land transaction tax (LTT) holidays which end on 31 March 2021.

The end of the tax holidays also coincides with the busy Easter holidays period – a popular time to move – and the end of the Help to Buy scheme in its current format.

David Greene, President of Law Society of England and Wales, said:

“Solicitors are working under pressure around the clock to help their clients move – both in time for Christmas and ahead of the SDLT deadline.

“The next few weeks are going to be very busy with people wanting to complete their desired move before Christmas and our members know an even busier and more stressful time awaits them up to the end of March.

“Consumers must recognise that it is increasingly unlikely that if they sell/buy their house now, that they will complete by the 31 March deadline.

“The solicitor is often the last link in the move, and it is only when the solicitor has all the pieces, which they are dependent on obtaining from others, that buyers and sellers can move.

“Many factors limiting the speed of a move – delays in the issuing of search results, delays in mortgage offers being issued, problems in the chain and with dependent transactions – are usually outside the control of the conveyancer and they cannot guarantee that transactions will complete before the end of March.”

Buyers and sellers can take some steps themselves to help matters to progress in a timely fashion, as outlined in the Home Buying and Selling Pledge.

“It is important that law firms prepare in advance for the avalanche of work that conveyancers are likely to face as the deadline approaches,”

added David Greene.

“Firms should manage the expectations of new clients hoping to move before the SDLT holiday ends and support must also be provided to solicitors whose mental health is under strain as they work long, unsociable hours.

“Solicitors are struggling to cope with the large volume of emails and telephone calls from clients and estate agents all of whom are understandably anxious to know the current position, but the time spent dealing with such enquiries prevents solicitors from progressing matters.”

“We raised this issue with the UK government in October and again in November urging them to ameliorate the 31 March deadline,” concluded David Greene.

“Options to achieve that could include extending the deadline or introducing appropriate transitional arrangements in order to help release the growing pressure on the conveyancing system, on buyers and sellers and on solicitors.”

3 Comments

  • test

    The need for radical change is being demonstrated

    A profession that fails to address something as inappropriate as a continuation of the chain sale will celebrate Christmas at the last chance saloon

  • test

    Seriously, John?

    This time you are saying it’s our fault that people moving house decide to do so at the last minute and don’t pay any attention to our telling them the likely timescale for a house move?

    Because, obviously, the overhauling of a system which involves many and varied third parties can be achieved by the average high-street lawyer just putting in a bit more effort and playing less golf.

    I wonder what you’ll decide is the fault of the legal profession tomorrow? Global warming? The fact your sprouts are over cooked on Christmas Day? Ranvir getting knocked out on Strictly?

    • test

      Alison

      Those who can’t answer a message attack the messenger

      Restrictive practices like the reserved matters stifle innovation

      Compulsory title registration used to require a resolution from a local council

      In 1950 Surrey started the process and local law societies unsuccessfully forced a public inquiry to stop it

      20 years later I started working in in the county as a conveyancer and was introduced to one old buffer after another who only wanted to bore me silly by boasting about how he had been a leading light in the opposition to registration.

      Imagine what things would be like had their thinking triumphed.

      Water off a duck’s back. Sarcasm is etc etc….

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