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Leasehold legislation needs to be right

Of the 213,700 transactions in the second quarter of this year – that’s 8.7 per cent more than in the first quarter – 60,000 transactions fell into the additional property charge, up from 58,200 in the first quarter. That means that the overall stamp duty take in the second quarter rose to £2.3bn from £2bn in the first quarter. And most additional rate transactions were made in the sub-£250,000 bracket, just where you might expect to find aspiring first-time buyers looking.

The latest proposal by the government is not another revenue raiser but could be just as controversial as the taxes on landlords. There is now to be a consultation on how to clamp down on the sale of leasehold properties. This is an understandable move as long as it is handled properly. The issue came to light when conventional houses were being sold on a leasehold basis; the freehold having been sold off to a property management agency which then installed clauses with the leasehold purchaser’s contract that doubled ground rents every 10 or 15 years.

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