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Planning News

The Government has used the most recent Queen’s speech to announce proposals for change to the planning system.

Of interest to Lace Law’s construction clients will be the idea that any pre-commencement conditions (i.e. conditions that have to be satisfied before development commences) should only be included in a planning permission if they are absolutely necessary.

Given the time it takes for clients to obtain planning permission there have been many examples we have seen locally where further frustrating delays are experienced when applying for clearance of the pre-commencement conditions.

If this potential source of delay can now be removed then it will be welcomed by our clients, but Lace Law awaits details of how planning authorities decide on which pre-commencement conditions are ‘absolutely necessary’.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) gets more complicated

There is no doubt that stamp duty land tax has become a far more complex matter for property buyers. For large value transactions it is vital that stamp duty is assessed from the very start.

As of 1st April 2016, it became necessary to pay an additional 3% stamp duty on additional residential properties. Lace Law has seen examples of where this can be a particular concern for clients who want to help their children buy a property or those who wish to purchase a property for renovation.

Whilst non-residential properties do not attract the higher SDLT charge we do have to look out for VAT being payable on the purchase price, in which case SDLT will be payable on the purchase price plus VAT.

Careful planning is needed and Lace Law will work closely with you and your advisers to ensure the SDLT charge is understood at the earliest opportunity.

Lace Law is already dealing with clients who are looking to place residential properties into a limited company with a view to achieving stamp duty savings. However, it is yet another complex area where gaining real benefits is not easily achieved and advice tailored to your particular circumstances is essential.