The Practical Lawyer


SDLT – what is ‘residential property’?

This case related to a claim for an SDLT refund of £48,500. The property was described in the agent’s particulars as a ‘fantastic family home set in about 4.5 acres within the sought after New Forest National Park’ with six bedrooms, gardens, swimming pool, garaging, stable yard and paddocks. The appellants completed the purchase on 21 March 2016. The consideration was £1,775,000, on which the appellants paid SDLT of £126,750, having entered the property as residential on their SDLT1 return.
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Cladding – pre-contract enquiries

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has brought the dangers of building cladding into sharp focus for those advising Bs and Ts. Some estimates indicate that there are still around 600 private buildings which have the same cladding as that used on the Grenfell Tower, namely aluminium composite material (ACM). The government has declared ACM and other cladding to be unsafe and building control deem all buildings with unsafe materials to be in breach of health and safety regulations. Many long leaseholders are faced with large service charge bills relating to costs incurred by the freeholder to replace unsafe cladding.
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Wood burners – changes to fuel

In the face of conveyancers being expected to advise on everything from electrical appliances to knotweed these days, practitioners may consider adding a line or two to their standard purchase report to remind Ss and Bs of the changes to fuel that can be put into wood burning stoves.
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Property Information Form – updated

The Law Society has updated the Property Information Form (4th ed) (2020) (PIF) to be used as part of the Protocol from 7 February 2020. Most firms will access the form via their software or forms supplier and therefore might not consider the changes in too much detail. However, practitioners should consider the form and the Law Society’s detailed guidance notes as the changes may impact on advice given to S when completing the form and to advice to Bs when reporting on the contract and enquiries.
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Restriction changes – a reminder

We reported in our May 2019 edition (p5) on an important change being introduced by HMLR to the wording of restrictions which comes into effect on 1 April 2020. From this date, HMLR will enforce a change to restriction consent wording. HMLR’s guidance states that:
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Upgrading class of title – PG 42

Form UT1 is used for applications to upgrade the HMLR class of title.
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First registration – certified copy documents

We reported in our February 2019 edition (p6) on the fact that HMLR has toughened up on firms that do not submit applications for first registration correctly. Instead of sending a requisition, HMLR will simply reject the application outright if certain basic criteria are not met, such as:
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HMLR domain name – changing

From 2 March 2020, selected HMLR team email addresses will have a slightly different domain name. The domain name is the part of the email address after the @ symbol.
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Net sale proceeds – conveyancer should have released

The HC has recently held that a law firm which did not release net sale proceeds of some £350,000 to the seller for a number of years was wrong to hold onto the money. The defendant firm claimed that they had ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion and concern’ regarding the transaction. The seller was known by two different names and it transpired that he had a criminal record. The defendant firm reported the matter to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and submitted a Suspicious Activity Report to the National Crime Agency.
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DS1 – evidence of identity

We reported in our February 2019 edition (p6) on the case of Caffrey which led to HMLR tightening its procedures to reduce fraud risk where a paper DS1 is submitted for the removal of a charge. This has meant that applications involving DS1 where there is a lender who is an individual may take longer to conclude.
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