Question: I am a first-time buyer and am currently looking to purchase a property in London with my partner. I have never owned a property before, but my partner has. Three years ago he and his brother inherited one which they sold and never occupied. Do we qualify for the first-time buyers Stamp Duty Land Tax relief?
© Merrily Harpur
Answer: The First Time Buyer’s Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Relief introduced by the former Labour government in the March 2010 budget effectively doubles the threshold below which SDLT is not payable on residential properties. The current limit is £125,000, available to all purchasers.
The first-time buyers relief therefore only applies to properties up to a maximum value of £250,000. Consequently if the property which you intend to purchase is above this value then you will not qualify for the exemption.
Furthermore, the relief up to £250,000 is limited to individuals who satisfy certain conditions including:
1. the property is wholly residential (whether freehold or leasehold provided the lease is for more than 21 years)
2. that you intend to occupy the property as your main or only home
3. that neither you nor your partner has ever owned property or land of any kind anywhere in the world previously. This includes inherited residential properties and whether or not the property was ever occupied. Of course if you bought in your sole name then you would satisfy this condition (and would need to check the others).
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Katharine is a solicitor and director at Pitmans Solicitors (www.pitmans.com).