Welcome to a week of chaos with Stamp Duty deadline midnight Thursday

It is likely to be a very chaotic few days until April 1.

The pressure for certain transactions to complete before Friday will be great. Conveyancers were pushed to complete numerous transactions before Easter and many will have been working, behind the scenes over the break so they are able to hit the ground running after Easter.

From personal experience I know what difficulties deadlines like the SDLT one can cause for all concerned, and the last thing conveyancers need are unnecessary interruptions during the course of their working day.

At times like this clients, agents, brokers and others will be keen to know what is going on. Many will, understandably, make calls to the conveyancer asking for updates. Those calls can have the reverse of the effect intended, and can delay rather than speed up matters.

Imagine you are driving a minibus full of people to a specified destination and everyone has a view on the best route. If all passengers shout out different requests you could be distracted so much that at best you have to slow down and are late, and at worst, you fail to reach your destination at all.

I know many agents think that conveyancers work from 9.00 to 5.00 and at their own pace. However, I know for a fact many are in their offices from at least 6.00 am onwards, working away before the doors and phone lines are opened.

I know this because many respond to my bulletins, which are sent out at 7.15 am twice a week, before 9am. In fact, a Bold Legal Group online CPD training test was sent out last Wednesday at 4am.

I thought it would be prudent to ensure the system was working correctly and took the test myself at 5.49am, thinking I would be the first. I was beaten to it by a conveyancer who took the test at 5.20am. Many more went on to take the test before 9am.

If you call a conveyancer to chase or progress a transaction, you can be sure others will be doing the same on other transactions and it isn’t always a case of the squeakiest wheel getting the grease. Sometimes the squeakiest wheel can grind everything to a halt.

The pressure this week will be great and everyone involved will be tested. If there are casualties don’t be too quick to blame those closest to you. The Chancellor has had his part to play in this; the consultation was sneaked out between Christmas and New Year, the consultation period was short, the guidance was vague and confusing and the implementation period between the budget and the deadline was a joke.

In my opinion, by working together in a considered fashion, more transactions will be completed in time, than by pushing and pulling in the wrong direction.

The next bright idea of the Chancellor is to privatise the Land Registry. God help us all!


  1. Jacqueline Emmerson

    Well said Rob.

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  2. Stephen Hayter

    Everyone must remember that close of business on Thursday is an absolute deadline, and transactions must complete by that time to avoid the change in SDLT. As I have said previously, it is also the end of the month, the first quarter and for many firms the end of their financial year – so many will be chasing exchanges rather than completions. Tolerance and patience are values that all could usefully demonstrate as you can be sure that everyone will be doing their utmost to satisfy the needs of as many clients as possible.

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