The property industry comes across many changes and developments which are important to keep up with.
One of the most significant recent developments is the changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) regime. It’s now necessary to file the tax return and pay any SDLT due within 14 days of the effective date of the transaction, reduced from 30 days. Our clients will be required to pay SDLT, and any other monies due at completion, in advance of the actual completion date. By not doing so, clients may find the truncated period to settle any claims leading to additional fines and penalties.
However, this is not the only change we’ve seen of late. Following the Dreamvar case, the Law Society has issued new guidance on the code for completion by post which is adopted by conveyancers and commercial property lawyers alike. Changes have been introduced to vary the undertakings given at completion, making it clear that the acting solicitor is only authorised for a genuine transaction.
HMRC has also recently been investigating estate agents for failing to obtain client's identity and information on source of funds. Solicitors have long been the target of anti-money laundering regulations and, in particular with residential transactions, are used to obtaining information as to the veracity of client finances. This new focus on estate agencies will not be welcomed by them, particularly following the perceived slump in the residential housing market.
Whilst the property market on the South Coast continues to appear relatively buoyant, participants in these markets will be viewing current affairs with interest and hoping that the buoyancy continues.