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Buy-to-let surcharge set to cause “mayhem”

The new surcharge on stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes is set to cause conveyancing “mayhem” next year.

Broker Conveyancing has warned that there will be an “incredible amount of pressure on conveyancing firms" as buyers rush to meet the 1 April deadline over the next four months.

Property market experts have already warned that the surcharge, announce by Chancellor George Osborne in last week’s Autumn Statement, will trigger a shortlived scramble for property.


Others have suggested it could trigger a property boom and bust.

Distributor Broker Conveyancing said that purchases must be completed by 31 March 2016 and this will only add to the pressure.

It warned that the conveyancing sector may have difficulty coping with the demands placed upon them, especially as the end of March coincides with the Easter break.

This is traditionally a very busy time for the housing market as many purchasers seek to complete in order to move in during the Easter holidays.

Broker Conveyancing believes firms may begin to charge additional premiums on buy-to-let purchases to cope with the extra pressure and discourage over-exposure to buy-to-let.

It said any buy-to-let purchases that do not complete by 31 March may subsequently fall through, which would be particularly bad news for its panel, all of whom offer ‘no completion, no fee’.

Broker Conveyancing also anticipates a significant slowdown in business for conveyancing funds after 1 April, which would make managing workflow difficult. 

Harpal Singh, managing director of Broker Conveyancing, said: “Increasing stamp duty will have a huge impact on the housing market as a whole and could result in a less than smooth process and, quite frankly, mayhem.

“The four-month notice period is incredibly short and it is likely to mean a very busy time for all stakeholders, particularly the conveyancing profession.”


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