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Residential Landlords

Extension to stamp duty holiday will save house buyers thousands of pounds

Extension to stamp duty holiday will save house buyers thousands of pounds

The Chancellor has confirmed that the stamp duty holiday is to be extended further, in a bid to help home buyers and reinvigorate the residential property market.

The stamp duty holiday, which was first introduced last July, was due to come to an end on 31 March.

Nicola Tubbs, Palmers Solicitors’ Director and Head of Residential Conveyancing, said: “Many buyers had been rushing to finalise their house purchases before the deadline but, as a consequence of delays during the third lockdown, it was feared that many would miss out on this valuable tax concession.

“It has been estimated that around 160,000 potential house sales were at risk – with concerns that the threatened additional cost of stamp duty could lead to many pulling out of the purchase at the last minute.

“The Chancellor’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday is therefore a great relief to buyers who have already started the conveyancing process – along with those who are hoping to move home in the spring.”

The extension means that anyone buying a property that completes by 30 June 2021 will not have to pay stamp duty land tax on the first £500,000 of the purchase price.

The extension is even more generous, with the holiday extended until the end of September for the first £250,000 of the purchase price. The nil tax rate is then set to return to its usual level of £125,000 from 1 October.

In a bid to help first time buyers onto the property ladder, the Chancellor has also announced a new scheme to provide a Government mortgage guarantee for homebuyers who are only able to put down a 5 per cent deposit.

In a move, which he dubbed, ‘Generation Buy’, Rishi Sunak said: “I’m pleased to say that several of the country’s largest lenders including Lloyds, NatWest, Santander, Barclays and HSBC will be offering these 95 per cent mortgages from next month and I know more, including Virgin Money, will follow shortly after.”

At Palmers, our large Residential Conveyancing team have over one hundred years’ combined experience.

We provide high quality, tailor-made advice and we are never more than a telephone call or e-mail away.

To ensure you do not miss out on stamp duty holiday savings, get in touch with our conveyancing team today.

New legislation to prevent eviction of commercial tenants until the end of 2020

New legislation to prevent eviction of commercial tenants until the end of 2020

New legislation will prevent the eviction of commercial tenants until at least 2021, it has been announced.

The Government said the new rules are designed to protect jobs and business owners affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While businesses are still expected to pay their rent where possible, the temporary measure will give struggling firms a chance to rebuild their business over the Autumn and Christmas period without the “threat of eviction”.

The new legislation will also extend the restriction on landlords using Commercial Rents Arrears Recovery to enforce unpaid rent on commercial leases, until the end of the year.

During this period, commercial landlords and tenants will be asked to negotiate and come to a fair agreement using the new Code of Practice as a guide.

The voluntary code, introduced this summer, is designed to encourage commercial property stakeholders to work together to protect viable businesses.

Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick, said: “I am announcing today that we are extending support to protect those businesses that are unable to pay their rent from eviction to the end of the year. This will stop businesses going under and protect jobs over the coming months.”

He added: “This government is committed to supporting businesses and our high streets at this difficult time, and this extension of support will help businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic and plan for the future.”

BJ Chong, a Partner with Palmers, who specialises in Commercial Law, said: “The legislation forms part of the Government’s wide-ranging business support and rescue package.

“This also includes Business Rates Relief, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Bounce Back Loans (BBL) scheme, and grant funding of up to £25,000 available through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

“In these continuing times of uncertainty for commercial tenants and landlords, it is important to ensure that your business is claiming the full level of emergency funding available. We can provide help and support and also assist with mitigating the effects of debt.”

For more business, secretarial or insolvency advice, please get in touch with our expert team.

Eviction ban: Hearings to resume in courts in England and Wales

Eviction ban: Hearings to resume in courts in England and Wales

Eviction hearings are set to resume in courts in England and Wales, with the most serious cases given priority, following a six-month ban on proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A backlog of cases has built up during the eviction ban, with cases involving domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour set to be heard first, while restrictions are still active in areas under local lockdown measures. Historic cases with rent arrears of more than 12 months will also be given priority.

Some campaigners have urged the Government to extend the ban, with approximately 230,000 tenants in England falling into arrears since March this year.

Erin Duffy, an Associate Solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in residential property disputes, said: “Landlords will now also be required to give tenants six months’ notice of an eviction, which is twice the length of the three-month notice period introduced by the recent legislation.

“This could mean that new repossession matters take much longer, leaving landlords without income for a significant period.

“The Government has, however, stated that it does not expect a wave of eviction notices, a statement which has been echoed by landlord groups.”

Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, has said that evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs if an area is under local lockdown with restrictions on gathering in houses, while bailiffs have also been told not to enforce possession orders over the Christmas period, other than in ‘the most serious circumstances’.

If a possession order was made before 27 March 2020, then landlords may apply for this to now be enforced, with tenants to be given 14 days’ notice of any eviction.

At Palmers, we are experienced in working with residential landlords. We can help clarify legal obligations, avoid disputes, or resolve these at an early stage in order to avoid costly voids. To find our more please contact us.

Law Commission unveils significant reforms to leasehold property

Law Commission unveils significant reforms to leasehold property

The Law Commission has published a new report which seeks to reform common issues with leasehold arrangements, as it looks to reshape the future of homeownership.

Leasehold problems have blighted home and flat owners for many years and have made national news headlines for the large ground rents and fees charged.

In the newly published 13th Programme of Law Reform, the Commission focuses on leasehold enfranchisement, including reforms for lessees and their landlords, aimed at improving the existing system of leasehold ownership, right to manage and commonhold.

Jacqui McGuirk, an Solicitor with Palmers, specialises in leasehold issues. She said: “The proposals for an expansion of enfranchisement would allow individuals that hold a long lease to potentially purchase the freehold or extend their lease further for longer periods.

“The reforms are intended to protect leaseholders against the imposition of burdensome or unreasonable costs on the obtaining of the freehold on their home.”

The Commission recommends that leaseholders of houses and flats should have the right to a lease extension for a 990-year term.

Most leasehold extensions are only offered for shorter periods, such as 90 or 50 years, under the current law. In some cases, where leases only have a short time remaining, homes may become less saleable.

The reforms have been welcomed by many leaseholders, but are likely to be less popular amongst landlords and property owners who are reliant on ground rent and lease extension fees as part of their income.

If brought into law, the reforms would give leaseholders more control over their homes, making the process of enfranchisement easier and less costly.

It would also seek to make commonhold agreements simpler to achieve, which would allow a group of tenants to purchase and manage the building in which they live. Although rules around commonhold already exist, this process is rarely used due to its complexity.

For help and advice on how to resolve leasehold matters, please contact us.

Coronavirus & Landlords – All evictions halted until at least the end of June

Coronavirus & Landlords – All evictions halted until at least the end of June

Following the passing into law of the Coronavirus Act 2020, it will not be possible for a landlord to evict a tenant until the end of June at the earliest.

From 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020, a landlord must give a tenant at least three months’ notice to evict them before they can apply to court for possession. This measure applies only to notices served from 26 March 2020.

However, the courts have suspended all housing possession action from 27 March for 90 days, although this initial period may be extended by the Government.

The consequence of these measures is that landlords will not be able to evict tenants until at least the end of June.

If you need to evict a tenant from your property, it is nevertheless important to ensure that you serve notice as soon as possible to ensure that you can proceed with the eviction at the earliest opportunity after these measures are lifted.

Contact our landlord and tenant team today.

What happens if I want to buy or sell a house?

What happens if I want to buy or sell a house?

Whether you are a first-time buyer, second-stepper or a buy-to-let landlord, purchasing a home is a complex act and there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration. The same goes when it comes to selling a property – and having a conveyancer you can trust is often the key to a smooth and successful transaction.

First things first, anyone purchasing a home needs to get their deposit together and secure an agreement in principle for their mortgage.

Once you have made an offer on your desired property and this has been accepted by the seller, the conveyancing process can begin. This starts with you supplying evidence of your identity and proof of the source of your deposit funds to your solicitor, who will then liaise with the seller’s conveyancer and carry out a number of important searches and questionnaires – which are all vital to the home-buying or moving process.

Nicola Tubbs, a Partner with Palmers who specialises in conveyancing, said: “Many people overlook the importance of appointing a trusted and experienced solicitor when it comes to conveyancing – and this can lead to no end of delays and other problems throughout the transaction process.

“Your conveyancer will always be one of your key contacts throughout the home-moving process, keeping you up-to-date with your transaction, reporting on search results, property titles and questionnaires and handling your deposit funds, Stamp Duty payments and more. They’ll even handle registering the ownership of your property at the Land Registry.”

“Appointing someone you can trust to carry out such sensitive work is vital, as is ensuring that your conveyancer can provide practical and clear advice from mortgage approval right through to completion.

“Equally important is ensuring that you are dealing with somebody with the knowledge and experience to help resolve any unforeseen issues which may arise,” she said.

Palmers has a large Residential Conveyancing department, whose solicitors and conveyancers have over one hundred years of experience between them and understand the importance of providing a speedy, efficient and no-nonsense service, regardless of whether you are buying, selling or re-mortgaging.

For more information about how Palmers can help, or to find out more about our wide range of property services, please contact us.