HM Land Registry has pledged to do everything it can to help conveyancers under pressure to complete residential property transactions before the ‘holiday’ on stamp duty land tax ends this month.
Land Registry said the conveyancing sector was going through a ‘uniquely challenging time’, having endured lockdowns, changing work practices, a huge increase in work volume, surging demand, and the tapering of the stamp duty land tax holiday in sight.
The current stamp duty holiday for properties in England ends on 30 June, followed by a tapered rate until the end of September. In Wales the land transaction tax concession will come to a hard end on 30 June.
Land Registry said it wanted to remind conveyancers about its ‘expedite’ service to fast-track application. The service, which does not cost extra, is available where a delay would cause problems not related to a land transaction or put a property transaction at risk. The application will be fast-tracked and processed within 10 working days, subject to any outstanding applications or requisitions that may need to be completed first, Land Registry said.
Conveyancers were also reminded that they can get instant updates on applications through the new ‘View My Application’ tool, which also provides an estimated completion date.
Simon Hayes, chief executive and chief land registrar, said: ‘HM Land Registry is committed to ensuring no property sale – residential or commercial - is put at risk. We have always prioritised the services that enable property sales to be completed. Most of our searches are instant and most changes to the register come at the end of the transaction. However, sometimes changes are needed urgently, and our expedite service means that anyone who has a concern about delays can contact their solicitor or contact us directly so we can investigate and quickly resolve any problems for them.’
The Gazette has previously reported on how conveyancers have been working late into the night to complete transactions before the 30 June deadline. The Law Society has also published guidance on managing client expectations.