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Can you believe it’s been a year since the last round of stamp duty changes? Things have settled down since the initial frenzy of changes and most people know the main rules. But if you’re not sure of the changes, here is a round up of the vital information you need to know before you decide to hop on to the buy-to-let train yourself.

  1. If your spouse owns another property the Inland Revenue treat that as yours too and you are liable for the higher rate even if you don’t have any interest in their house, unless you are divorced or legally separated (for example by a court order).
  2. If you own a property in a different country, you still own a property and this means you are buying the property in the UK as a second property and you are liable for the higher rate.
  3. Companies buying a property are always liable for the higher rate, even if they have never owned a property before. The government makes the assumption this is an investment property.
  4. If you are selling the property you live in and buying a new property to live in (for examples swapping main residences), it doesn’t matter about your buy-to-let portfolio and you will pay the lower rate. But if you are buying a property to live in but not selling one, you must pay the higher rate. You can however sell your old main residence within 3 years and make a claim for a refund from the Inland Revenue.
  5. The higher rate is charged on second properties purchased for more than £40,000.

Get in touch – we’re happy to help

Fidler and Pepper have a dedicated team of Conveyancing specialists who are always happy to help explain the second property stamp duty rules. Simply give us a call on 01623 45 11 11.

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I published a blog last week regarding the influx of pop up shops on the high street at the moment. Economically, this makes a lot of sense and is good for the high street generally but how does a tenant occupy the premises if they do not enter into a full commercial lease of the property?

Generally a landlord will ask you to enter into either a licence for occupation, tenancy at will or a periodic tenancy.

A licence for occupation is for a short period of time and does not give the tenant an interest in the property with the knock on effect that the Landlord can enter the premises at any time.  They can also be drafted so as to allow the landlord a right to share occupation with the tenant.

A tenancy at will is a more formal agreement for occupation which in theory is for an indefinite period of time but generally can be terminate on notice being given by either party. This type of agreement can be modified to suit either the landlord to the tenant to their individual requirements. Quite often they arise at the end of a pervious lease whereby the exiting tenant finds that they revert of this type of agreement. They are not as secure for the tenant as a full commercial lease for a defined period of time.

A periodic tenancy is a tenancy agreement for fixed intervals or periods of time that run concurrently to each other. Typically the term or period will be how often the rent is paid which quite often is either weekly or monthly. They tend to be more applicable for residential property rather than commercial.

All of the above carry with them their own benefits and pitfalls. Please keep an eye out for my further blog for more details on this or alternatively, if you want to discuss this in more detail contact me at wjames@fidler.co.uk or on 0162345111. You can also visit our website http://www.fidler.co.uk/comm_conveyancing/index.cfm

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Earlier this year the council announced that the threshold for empty business rates would drop from £2,600 from £18,000. This means that more commercial properties would fall out of this exemption and would be liable for rates to be paid by the landlord or the tenant.


Shops and offices are exempt for the first three months after the property becomes empty and industrial units are exempt from rates for the first six months. After this period full rates will become payable.


Landlords that have unoccupied properties that could consider granting short terms leases at a lower rent to attract a tenant and then agree terms that the tenant must pay all outgoings including the rent. Provided the lease is for 6 weeks or more, when the lease finishes the landlord can take advantage of the rate free period again for 3 or 6 months. This could save the landlord a considerable sum of money.


If you are considering granting a short lease and require a solicitors to assist you with this then please contact me Christie Limb at climb@fidler.co.uk I would be happy to provide you with a competitive quote.


Christie Limb





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