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Conveyancing firm to tell buyers they will miss stamp duty holiday

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’.

  • Samantha Sullivan

    As long as the buyer isn't using Nationwide there shouldn't be a reason why sales agreed from now up until Christmas shouldn't go through in time.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Some searches in some local authorities are taking 90 working days. If placed today they might return on 22nd March. Most conveyancers will take 3-4 weeks to order Searches after being instructed due to the processes they are required to follow. So, if left entirely to the conveyancer, it is already too late in those areas. This is why my company offers Direct access to place orders for buyers, and Vendors who wish to get ahead of the game and help the process by ordering for their own property given that searches are property specific not client specific.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Vendors need to be buying searches now to secure their sales as best they can. Any buyer agreeing to buy a property that does not have searches on order should get the order placed as soon as the deal is agreed...as long as they are confident about their finances. We make everything directly available for Home Movers to get orders placed. Please let your clients know how they can help themselves.
    Where a buyer is happy to pay for their Searches where a pack order has already been placed, we will refund the Vendor 100% and transfer reports to the buyer.
    We also make all Standard Protocol forms freely available to all clients looking to move home to get them a step closer to being legally prepared. We do not offer conveyancing solutions so are not looking to disrupt your existing relationships in any way. We just enable you to better support your own conveyancing relationships and ease the stress for clients.

  • Rob Hailstone

    "as long as they are confident about their finances"


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