The Law Society is calling on its members to warn not just clients but also estate agents if there is a possibility that current transactions for ‘additional homes’ may fail to meet the vital midnight March 31 deadline.
In a note to members, the society says the March 31 deadline is putting pressure on all parties involved in transactions - but insists the deadline will be immoveable, and therefore lawyers should inform all those who may be affected if one element of a deal looks likely to threaten the deadline being met.
Specifically it then tells members: “You should warn your client that if completion is fixed for a date on or before March 31 but completion takes place after March 31 then, provided the transaction is subject to the new SDLT provisions, the additional SDLT will be payable. The reasons for a delayed completion will not be material and will include the seller’s default.”
It goes on to say: “You should explain to your clients that there are aspects of the transaction which are to some extent beyond your control, for example, if you are still waiting for a mortgage offer or search results, or if the transaction is leasehold and you are still awaiting information from managing agents and landlords, or if you are not certain that those on the other side of the transaction - or indeed further along the chain - will be in a position to deal when requested and that you are therefore unable to give warranties as to timings.”
The exact provision of the stamp duty surcharge and its implementation timetable will not be known until next Wednesday’s budget, and the Law Society says its members should tell clients of the uncertainties that will exist until that time.