9 December 2021
Residential & rural - December 2021 – 1 of 3 Insights
Following the announcement in the autumn budget, for disposals of UK residential property that are completed on or after 27 October 2021, sellers now have 60 days (rather than 30) to report and pay any tax due on the sale. HMRC has confirmed that if the completion date was before 27 October 2021 then reporting and payment must be within 30 days.
The extension also applies to non-residents disposing of UK property. If the disposal involves mixed use property, the 60 day extended deadline applies only to the residential element.
This change comes after it was reported by HMRC that one in three returns was filed late in the year to 6th January 2021, with many tax payers only becoming aware of the 30 day window after completion of their sale and therefore finding the deadline difficult to meet.
Boris Johnson has announced that with effect from next year, new homes and buildings in England as well as those undergoing major renovation works will require electric vehicle charge points.
The government believes this will result in up to 145,000 extra charge points per year in the run up to 2030 after which the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the UK will end. To put this in context, there are currently approximately 250,000 charge points already installed in homes and work places.
The new regulations will require:
It remains to be seen whether there will be any exemptions for renovations on buildings which are listed.
Following a recent, widely reported case in Luton where a property owner who had been working away returned to his house to find that the locks had been changed with new owners in occupation undertaking works, it is worth remembering that the land registry offers some services that are worth signing up to, for those owning property that is either rented or empty. This could include those who are working temporarily overseas, or executors.
Properties that are not subject to mortgages but are occupied under tenancies are particularly vulnerable to those who may have access to the owner's post, facilitating the theft of identification documents which enable the fraudsters to pose as the real owner of the property and to sell it without the owner's knowledge.
Ownership information held at the Land Registry is available to the public which includes fraudsters who can easily access this information and obtain correspondence addresses from the title and in some cases sample signatures of the real owner.
It's possible to register to receive property alerts from the Land Registry so that an alert will be sent by email if there is any activity on the register. This is a free service and alerts can be set up for up to ten properties. This means that an email alert will be sent if, for example, a pre-completion search (which is undertaken as a matter of course by a conveyancing lawyer acting on a purchase in the run up to completion) is made. The alerts do not automatically block a change to the register but they give you an opportunity to take swift action, before it is too late.
Another option is to register a restriction against the title that prevents the Land Registry from registering a sale or a mortgage unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the disposition was made by the registered proprietors.
The Government's plan to reform leasehold ground rents in England and Wales came a step closer to fruition when the draft Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday 29 November 2021.
The draft Bill has a stated aim of restricting ground rents on newly created long residential leases of houses, with the intention of "making leasehold ownership fairer and more affordable".
The draft Bill is the first part of a two-stage process of reform of the leasehold position in England and Wales. The second part (which has not yet got past review stage) will be an overhaul of the leasehold enfranchisement procedure whereby tenants can purchase their freehold or extend the term of their lease.
For the moment, MPs supported the reduction of ground rents for all new houses in England and Wales to a peppercorn annually, essentially leaving leaseholders paying nothing in real terms - a far cry from the current situation in which some tenants have found themselves which has left them trapped with ground rents which rise to unaffordable levels over the period of the lease, making the property un-mortgageable and unsaleable.
It has been argued that the draft Bill does not go far enough, in that it does not assist those leaseholders who already own properties with rising ground rents. MPs were scathing in their attacks on conveyancing solicitors that they felt had not properly advised their clients. There is further debate to be had on the final terms of the Bill, but it certainly seems that given its widespread support from all political parties, ground rents are soon to be a thing of the past in long residential leases of houses.