SDLT stands for Stamp Duty Land Tax. This is a tax payable on all transactions involving land which are valued over a certain threshold. For further information on the rate of tax payable and in respect of the First Time Buyer (FTB) relief please see HMRC

Chancel Repair liability is an ancient interest benefiting some 5,200 pre-reformation churches in England and Wales. It allows the Parochial Church Council to require owners of former Rectory land to meet the cost of repairing the church chancel. Under the Land Registration Act 1925 chancel repair liability is classified as an overriding interest in registered land. This means it has been protected without even being registered. The problems associated with such an overriding interest were highlighted in 2003 in a House of Lords ruling. It will be necessary for all such overriding interests to be noted on the title of properties affected. However the status of overriding interest will remain for a period of 10 years from 2003 during which time the church must ensure that all rights are registered against the land they affect or the rights will become unenforceable.

Many properties are subject to restrictive covenants. If you are purchasing an existing property then you may be purchasing it subject to promises or covenants made by a previous owner to a former owner. The most common are those which prevent you from building without the consent of the former owner or their successors in title. Alternatively there may be restrictions on storing a boat or caravan on the land. When purchasing a property it is essential to ensure that none of the restrictive covenants have been breached by the current or previous owner and that the covenants are those with which you can comply in the future. If you would like to discuss the issue of restrictive covenants in more detail then please contact us.

An Easement is a right over land. The most common easements are for services to and from the property to pass through any adjoining property, for a right of entry to carry out necessary maintenance to such services, a right to overhang neighbouring land, a right of way over a common footpath or a right of way with or without vehicles over a common garage forecourt. Where such rights are used in common with other persons you would normally be jointly responsible for the cost of maintaining and repairing these areas.

LPA is short for Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal document by which you can appoint an Attorney to deal with your property, finances and health care should you become incapable of handling these for yourself due to physical or mental incapacity. For further information click here

Unregistered Land is land which has not yet been registered at the Land Registry. Under the Land Registration Acts all land must now be registered upon disposition eg a change of ownership or upon mortgaging. Very little land in England & Wales remains unregistered apart from odd pockets here and there and land which has remained in the same ownership and had no mortgages granted over it for a considerable period of time. This means that much of the remaining unregistered land is owned by people who are more advanced in years and unfortuantely upon their death the title deeds often cannot be found. As it is unlikely that there is any mortgage outstanding the deeds are often no longer held by the Bank and, if deposited elsewhere, records of where the deeds are stored may also have been lost. In such circumstances there can be considerable difficulties for the Personal Representatives in selling the property. Best advice is, if you own or have an elderly relative who owns unregistered land, make an application to the Land Registry for voluntary registration of the land without delay. It will be necessary to produce the deeds and documents of title or, if lost, then to prepare a reconstruction of title. If reconstruction is required the earlier the process is put in place the easier it will be for all concerned.

Stamp duty Land tax bands for the 2011-2012 tax year

Residential Property

  • £0 – £125,000                  0%
  • £125,001 – £250,000      1%
  • £250,001 – £500,000      3%
  • £500,001 – £1,000,000      4%
  • Over £1,000,000      5%

Non Residential

  • £0 – £150,000      0%
  • £150,001 – £250,000      1%
  • £250,001 – £500,000      3%
  • Over £500,000      4%

Notes: (1) For first time buyers there in no stamp duty payable up to £250,000. This tax holiday will continue until 25th March 2012 and is being reviewed in Autumn 2011. (2)From Mid July 2011 onwards, bulk purchases of residential property will only be subject to Stamp Duty Land Tax at the average value of each property rather than the total value of all the properties being purchased in bulk. See example here. HMRC rates-allowances 2011