Stamp duty holiday pressures causing professional negligence claims

2021 saw a hectic 12 months for the housing market. Demand for moving home soared with buyers spurred on by the stamp duty holiday savings. This led to many buyers and sellers hoping to complete their transactions before the stamp duty rules changed at the end of June 2021.

This put immense pressure on the professionals involved in the process, in particular surveyors and conveyancing solicitors. Pressure to complete property transactions quickly in order to capitalise on the Stamp Duty holiday inevitably led to mistakes being made. This is now causing an increase in professional negligence claims being made.

What happens if your surveyor or conveyancer made a mistake

The risks for professionals are well reported within the industry. With legal and surveying work potentially rushed through to meet the holiday deadline, sellers and buyers are now discovering mistakes and omissions in their paperwork.  Sometimes these mistakes are not being spotted until much later.

These mistakes usually result in financial loss. Loss can easily be tens of thousands of pounds, or in the worst-case scenario, even result in a property being rendered worthless. In some instances, insurers are being asked to reimburse the entire property purchase.

Conveyancers may also be liable and face claims for having missed the cut-off point for the holiday. Any delay in completion could be significant, particularly if the delay took completion from just before the stamp duty change to just after. Additional stamp duty would then apply and that could be a significant unexpected sum to find.

The duty changed after 30 June 2021 from the 0% threshold dropping from £500,000 to £250,000 on completions from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021 it returned to the standard amount of £125,000. The loss can therefore be significant and therefore we recommend obtaining legal advise as soon as you become aware of any issue.

What to do if your surveyor or conveyancer made a mistake

If you moved home in 2021 and you believe your surveyor or conveyancer made a mistake with your sale or purchase, then our Dispute Resolution Team can assist and can be contacted on [email protected] or 01276 686222.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

Contributing Advisors