Stamp Duty relief for First time Buyers

Piggy Bank Budget savingsThe budget is out, with £15.3 billion new financial support for house building over the next five years and with the Government setting aside £1.2 billion to buy land and £2.7 billion for related infrastructure.  The Government announced plans to create five new so-called ‘garden’ towns, and there was a headline-grabbing cut in stamp duty for first time buyers.

Stamp duty is currently paid on property purchases over £125,000, with a ‘slice’ tax where buyers pay at the relevant rate for each band, rather than a flat rate across the whole amount.  With immediate effect, stamp duty is abolished for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000, or on the first £300,000 of a property worth up to £500,000.

Property law expert and Solicitor Johanna Withams based in our Bishop’s Stortford office said: “The change in stamp duty has caught most of the attention.  It’s certainly a move that will be welcomed by first time buyers, but does add yet more complexity to the application of this particular tax, where we already have different rates for second home owners and landlords.

“Buyers need to read the small print before rushing out to make an offer, as there are clear distinctions on who is eligible. It will not apply if any property has been owned at any previous time, whether here or anywhere else in the world, and it must be the only or main home for the buyer.  In a joint purchase, everyone would need to qualify as a first-time buyer.  Buyers will need to check out the detail with their solicitor, and the benefit must be claimed when the Stamp Duty Land Tax return is made to HMRC during the purchase process.”

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss your potential purchase through with us, please give us a call at any of our offices based in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertford and Enfield. 01279 715555, 01992 558411 or 0208 366 6411

Web site content note: 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Beware the Expiring Lease

Signing Document
Lease Extension

I have noticed a huge increase in enquiries for lease extensions as Mortgage companies are becoming increasingly nervous about lending on shorter leases.  The less years to run on your lease the more expensive the premium to extend. Delaying could end up costing you thousands of pounds more.


What are your options?

You can extend your lease on a voluntary basis with your landlord or alternatively if your Landlord is unwilling to agree to a lease extension you can make a claim under the Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 (“the statutory route”)

If your landlord is willing you will need to agree a price and the terms which could include  an increased ground rent or other terms for agreeing to extend the lease.

If you use the statutory route, 90 years will be added to the remaining term and ground rent will be reduced to zero.  However in order to use the statutory route you have to satisfy certain criteria, one of which is that you have been the registered proprietor of the property for at least two years.

It is important in both cases to obtain a lease extension valuation by an experienced Surveyor to make sure that you are not paying too much or you are agreeing to terms that may be detrimental and unattractive to a prospective buyer.

What else do I need to think about?

If you use the statutory method you are required to pay your landlord’s reasonable legal and valuation costs.  If you are agreeing a lease extension with your Landlord it is likely that they will still want their costs paid by you as part of the agreement.

If you use the statutory route and you are unable to reach an agreement with the Landlord you are able to apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for a determination of the premium and also the Landlord costs if you think that these are unreasonable.

Need more information?

Please ring Rita Wright for further information or even a chat to discuss your options on 01992 558411

Director's Desk

The Director’s Friend and a winding up petition – a testimonial received:


Directors Desk
The Director's Friend


This blog post features a testimonial from a director client whose company was faced with a winding up petition in a substantial sum presented by H M Revenue & Customs. The client was recommended to the Director’s Friend by their business adviser.

A winding up petition:

A winding up petition presented by a creditor asks the Court to order a company into compulsory liquidation. Part of the process pre order is that the winding up petition is advertised. The Director’s Friend says that this can be terminal for the company as its bank and the wider world becomes aware of the winding up petition. That usually means that the company bank account is frozen and suppliers cease trading with the company and/or support the winding up petition. Therefore, a winding up petition is very serious for a company.

Details of the The Director’s Friend and a winding up petition – a testimonial received::  

The client’s company was faced with a winding up petition for National Insurance Contributions, income tax PAYE, company tax, VAT as well as interest and surcharges.

The Director’s Friend was able to help:

 This is the testimonial for the advice of the Director’s Friend:

I instructed Richard Cole (the Director’s Friend) in respect of a winding up petition that had been presented against my company by H M Revenue & Customs. I was a director of that company. I was extremely concerned and worried by the winding up petition. I was referred to Richard Cole who was able to take instructions and the worry away from me.

 After negotiating with H M Revenue & Customs over a protracted period of time Richard Cole was able to negotiate to pay a lesser sum than was demanded by way of the winding up petition and importantly to me personally obtain time for payment from the sale of a property.

I was very happy and impressed with the service that Richard Cole as the Director’s Friend provided to me. Richard Cole certainly is the Director’s Friend! I would have no hesitation in recommending Richard Cole to you for insolvency / company / directors advice.

SH, Kent, United Kingdom’

The winding up petition was dismissed.

If you or someone you know is a director of a company that may be insolvent or is facing a winding up petition, contact the Directors Friend for help

As the Director’s Friend, I was very grateful to receive this testimonial. It demonstrates the approach that the Directors Friend takes with the experience and knowledge that the Director’s Friend can bring to bear for you in your corner.

My name is Richard Cole. I am an insolvency Solicitor who formerly worked at the Insolvency Service carrying out director disqualification investigations. I am now the Director’s Friend. Why not contact me to discuss on: +44(0) 1992 558 411. The earlier that you speak with me the more that I can likely help.

Until the next time...

The Director’s Friend