A leading firm of conveyancers will this week tell new clients that their property purchases are likely to miss the stamp duty holiday deadline.
“Anyone ringing us will be quoted with SDLT at the normal rate, so that will set it out from the start that the likelihood is that they won’t be completing by 31 March” says Richard Carter, managing partner of conveyancing firm Martin Tolhurst.
This might mean losing business, but “it will be saving us from having very difficult conversations next March” he adds.
Carter’s comments came at a legal webinar, which in turn has been reported by the Legal Futures website.
The site quotes Carter as saying: ““It goes against the grain because we don’t want to be turning clients away but we’re going to have to.”
The conveyancer suggested that mortgage lenders were taking three to four weeks to make a decision, with surveys taking a similar period, and then an additional week or so for the decision to be sent out to the prospective borrower.
He said clients were “understanding” during the first lockdown but that has changed. “People are saying they don’t understand why it’s taking so long” he says.
Three weeks ago three conveyancing groups - The Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Bold Legal Group, and The Conveyancing Association - warned in a statement: “The message that conveyancers would like clients and their estate agents to take on board is – understand that transactions are going to take longer than usual to progress and please be patient. Continually chasing your lawyer actually makes them less productive and indirectly is a further cause of delay in the process.”
Since then another conveyancing company has named those local authorities which took a lengthy period to respond to local search enquiries, while at the end of last week a property data consultancy - The Advisory - suggested that prospective buyers in almost a third of major cities were already unlikely to meet the March 31 deadline.
Many organisations, including NAEA Propertymark and the Law Society, have called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the holiday in some way to avoid a ‘cliff edge’.