2021 Changes to ‘Relief’ Bills Introduced During Pandemic

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There will be no Stamp Duty Holiday extension next year, the UK government has announced. 

Their statement, revealed just before Christmas, was in response to a nationwide petition urging the government to extend Stamp Duty relief past its current deadline of March 31, 2021. The petition, signed by those in the industry, was presented to parliament with more than 28,000 signatures.

The government responded to the demand by saying that the idea behind the abolishing of Stamp Relief in England and Northern Ireland for homes up to £500,000, was to introduce an immediate stimulus for the market. 

Introduced in July, the Stamp Duty Holiday certainly did its job, sending the property market reeling at times. Demand for housing had already been high due to lockdown but the opportunity to save up to £15,000 on homes worth £500,000 was the final push many keen but undecided buyers needed to move.

First-time buyers only Stamp Duty Absentees 

Only first-time buyers will continue to enjoy Stamp Duty relief for homes valued at up to £300,000, and 5% for anything after that up to £500,000 after the Holiday cut-off date.

The rates for those who are already home owners, are due to revert to 2% on properties priced £125,001 to £250,000, 5% on homes valued at £250,001 to £925,000 and 10% for property from £925,001 up to £1.5m.

Surcharges for second home owners and overseas buyers 

Buy to let landlords and those who buy a second home will pay an additional 3% on top of the existing Stamp Duty rates. In Wales, following a new ruling this month, the additional levy for second homes valued at up to £180,000 is 4%. For homes worth £1.6m or more in Wales, the Land Transaction Tax (LTT) is 16%. 

Overseas buyers can also expect to pay a Stamp Duty surcharge – of 2% – for any property they purchase in England and Northern Ireland.

Mortgage payment holidays to end March 31, 2021

The huge help for current homeowners who had lost their jobs or faced furlough in 2020, was the Mortgage Payment Holiday. This too will come to an end at the beginning of April, with no current plans to extend it. 

Rental evictions postponement

Due to coronavirus anyone served a Section 21 (or other eviction notice) between 29 August 2020 to 31 March 2021, must have been given six months’ notice, by law. Less than this and the eviction hearing won’t go ahead. Only in serious breaches of Tenancy Agreements, such as anti-social behaviour and non-payment of rent for up to six months, will the six months’ notice rule be abandoned. The ruling applies to all property in all Tiers, not just the most severely restricted areas.

Bailiffs banned until January 11, 2021

Coronavirus measures mean no bailiff possession cases can take place in England and Wales until January 11, 2021. Again, this is regardless of Tier. Due to the fact that 14 day’s notice must be given of an eviction taking place, the first bailiffs visits won’t be until January 25 next year.

Reactivation notices needed for repossession

Tenants issued with a claim for property possession prior to August 2, 2020 must be sent a ‘reactivation notice’ by the landlord as well as the court. The landlord must outline whether the tenant has suffered a loss of income as a result of the pandemic, or whether they have been shielding etc. Failure to supply this info will mean the repossession hearing won’t go ahead.