Question: My boyfriend and I are about to buy a property together for £245,000. I have the deposit, which I have saved myself. My boyfriend has just come out of a relationship, and so has no money. We have been offered a joint mortgage. I have never owned a property before but he has, so I don’t think we can benefit from the new stamp duty holiday. What should we do?
© Merrily Harpur
Answer: If you buy the property in your name only, instead of jointly, you will be able to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday announced in the Budget because you have never owned a property before, and the one you are buying is not more than £250,000 — as long as you buy it before 25 March 2012.
However, you may be obtaining a joint mortgage with your boyfriend because your income is not enough to support a mortgage in your name alone. If you need your boyfriend’s income to be taken into account, the property will have to be bought in your joint names, and so you will not be able to benefit from the SDLT holiday as your boyfriend has had a previous interest in a property. As you are paying the deposit, take legal advice on whether you should hold the property as tenants in common in unequal shares, in order to protect the investment you have made in the property.
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Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.