As the 30 June stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday deadline approaches, social media is awash with messages of support for and from practitioners.
The SDLT holiday extension, enacted in the March budget, runs through until the end of June for properties up to the value of £500,000, with a tapered finish to £250,000 at the end of September. In Wales, the Land Transaction Tax (LTT) concession will come to a hard end on 30 June with no tapering arrangements after this date.
Conveyancers are facing increasing pressure from home movers to complete before their property purchases are subject to SDLT.
Property law training consultant Stephen Desmond has written on LinkedIn
“Conveyancers across England and Wales. You are doing an amazing job in tortuous and arduous circumstances. But just as this current glorious weather we are enjoying followed on from winter, better times for you are just around the corner.”
In a nod to Today’s Conveyancer’s “Call for Kindness” and “Pledge”, Liz Pelleymounter of Alexander Grace Law writes
“The pressure on conveyancers at the moment are worse than ever so if anyone is moving house, please spare a thought for your conveyancer this month…please be kind.”
Head of Residential Conveyancing at Pearsons Solicitors Victoria Marshall adds
“I’m preparing as best I can for a busy June, these are a few of the things we have put in place:
- Offer overtime for the staff who want it, this acknowledges the extra hours they are putting in and we know there are a lot!
- asked for help. Other departments are just as busy however have taken some of our usual responsibilities to ease the burden. We even have other team members working with us in the interim.
- communicate every step of the way. With your team, agent, client and third parties. Don’t send another email PICK up the phone! 5 emails will usually get resolved in 2minutes on a telephone call
- planned a summer night out. Everyone needs something to look forward to!”
The Law Society has published it’s own guidance for under-pressure conveyancing solicitors covering managing clients’ expectations and offering practical suggestions for dealing with transactions.
“We understand the terrific pressure that conveyancers are under ahead of the 30 June deadline, pressure that many solicitors have now been under for some time as they continue to work under the most challenging circumstances,”
said Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce.
“Stressed and under-pressure solicitors have been working late into the night and over weekends, with little or no work-life balance, to ensure their clients’ transactions are able to complete according to their wishes.
“It is key at this stage for conveyancing solicitors to take steps to manage their clients’ expectations about completing in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
“Many factors limiting the speed of a move – delays in the issuing of search results, delays in mortgage offers being issued, problems in the chain and with dependent transactions – are usually outside the control of the conveyancer. They cannot guarantee transactions will complete before the end of June.”
For England, tips include managing client’s expectations appropriately so they are aware of the impact not making the 30 June deadline. Arranging completion dates as much in advance of the end of June is also advised, where possible.