“Manage clients’ expectations” ahead of end of stamp duty holiday, Law Society warns

The Law Society for England and Wales has warned solicitors to “manage clients’ expectations” ahead of the end of the Stamp Duty holiday.

The temporary relief – which was launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic – is set to be replaced by a transitional rate from July.

Ahead of the changes, the legal regulator has published brand new guidance explaining how “under pressure” solicitors can manage clients’ expectations about completing in time to benefit from the temporary rate of stamp duty.

It advises that solicitors cannot guarantee that transactions will be completed as many external factors – such as 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”.

We understand the terrific pressure that conveyancers are under ahead of the 30 June deadline, pressure that many solicitors have now been under for some time as they continue to work under the most challenging circumstances,” said Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce.

“It is key at this stage for conveyancing solicitors to take steps to manage their clients’ expectations about completing in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.”

The Law Society guidance can be found here.

The nil rate band for stamp duty (the threshold at which tax is paid on residential property) was increased from £125,000 to £500,000 in March 2020 in response to Covid-19.

But the temporary rate is set to be replaced by a transitional rate of £250,000 from 01 July 2021, before finally reverting to the standard rate of £125,000 on 01 October 2021.

The rate of stamp duty that applies to a purchase depends on the date that the property purchase is completed and not the date contracts are exchanged.

For help and advice with business related matters, please get in touch with our expert legal finance team.