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Stamp Duty Changes, but landlords, do not forget…

As we all know, there will be a rush to the finish line for all of you who are looking to purchase a second property, due to the additional stamp duty rates.

However, despite the 1 April deadline, there is still a need to ensure that the legal aspects of your purchase are dealt with as thoroughly as possible.

If you are a buy to let landlord, it is still important that your lawyer raises relevant enquiries relating to the following:

  • Is there an existing tenant? If so, what are the current terms of the existing tenancy in place?
  • Is there a deposit in place? How much is held and is it held in the correct tenancy scheme
  • Ensure that the deposit monies are transferred to you upon completion of the purchase.
  • Check the length of the notice period relating to the existing tenancy, so there are no surprises.
  • Obtain further details relating to the tenant including the length of time they have resided there and whether there are any arrears or late payment history.
  • Very importantly, have the tenants breached any of the terms of the tenancy or caused a nuisance whilst residing there?
  • Is there a full signed inventory in place, including photographs detailing the existing conditions of the property and the items contained within it?

When deciding to purchase a second property, either as a buy to let or a holiday home, it is important to ensure that your lawyer checks the legal title to the property carefully, and takes into account your future use of it.  In particular, whether there are any restrictions on the title, which may stop you from using the property as you would like.

Some legal titles do state that the property may not be tenanted.  In particular, a number of flat leases prohibit future lettings and also letting part only of the property, such as a single room to a lodger.  Therefore, you need to be aware of such restrictions, as it may be that consent from the landlord or management company may be required for this.

More haste, less speed is the motto here – although there is a stamp duty deadline looming, do not get caught out as that could prove even more costly!