Happy New Year from all of us here at Howells Solicitors! We hope you had a great 2017 and the year ahead will be even more prosperous for you.
In terms of the law, there will be some great changes seen and felt over the next 12 months. What are they? Read on to find out what our 2018 predictions are.
The Effects of Stamp Duty Changes…
At the end of November 2017, the UK government announced via the Budget that first-time buyers will no longer have to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on properties up to and including £300,000.
This change means that 80% of first-time buyers will no longer owe stamp duty on their first home purchase, and a further 15% will see a cut in the amount, making upfront fees considerably more affordable.
Chancellor Hammond said:
"This is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again,"
This change will apply in England and Northern Ireland, and in Wales until the end of March 2018.
…And the Introduction of Land Transaction Tax
In Wales, stamp duty land tax will be replaced by ‘land transaction tax’ (LTT) in April 2018. As before, LLT will be payable when you buy or lease a building or land over a certain price, however this tax will be simpler and fairer, will improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as focus on Welsh needs and priorities.
When compared to SDLT, LTT will allow purchases of higher value before tax is required and offers a more gradual rate progression across smaller value bands.
The new LTT rates will be as follows:
£0 to £180,000 – 0%
£180,001 to £250,000 – 3.5%
£250,001 to £400,000 – 5%
£400,001 to £750,000 – 7.5%
£750,001 to £1,500,000 – 10%
£1,500,001+ - 12%
Things Will Heat Up for Renters
April may be a big moment for property buyers, but it also signals change for renters and the quality of properties available. As of April 1st 2018, all privately rented properties must provide evidence of having a minimum ‘E’ rated energy performance.
This could be an expensive process for landlords who need to upgrade insulation and heating systems, but it would make homes cheaper to heat in the long run and provide tenants with a higher quality of living.
Not abiding by the new rules could lead to a civil penalty of up to £4,000.
Council Tax May Increase
The government ended 2017 with a relaxation of the rules on council tax increases. Previously councils could only put up tax by 2% without a referendum, however from March 2018 this minimum will raise to 6%.
This is the biggest increase in 14 years and, although still just a provisional announcement has been made, could lead to some homeowners seeing their bills rise by up to £100 a year.
If any of the above 2018 predictions concern you and you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and knowledgeable team of solicitors. Call 0808 178 2773 today.