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Having sold my old marital home I bought 3 flats where I used to live (Herts) and then, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to move to the other side of the county (Kent) - where I now plan to stay. As a result, to both diversify my 'portfolio' a little in location, and to bring one of the properties closer to home, I'm looking to sell up one of the properties in my old town and buy a replacement locally to live in. However, I'm concerned about the SDLT levy that I may have to pay on a £300,000 purchase (£14000 with the 3% levy versus £5000 without - a £9000 surcharge)
Of the 3 flats in my old town, I lived in one of them for about 2 years and started renting it out on the 26/3/2016. I currently live with my mum and have no primary residence in my own name. As I understand it, as I own other properties, in order to be exempt from the 3% stamp duty levy I need to have sold my previous primary residence, which in turn I need to have lived in during the last 3 years before the purchase of the new property. As such, if I am to qualify for this exemption, I need to have both sold my old flat and completed on a new property before 26/3/2019. Am in I correct in this understanding? That would in theory give me just shy of 3 weeks to complete the sale of my old property and to find and complete the purchase of a new one; which could in theory be done, but is I imagine highly unlikely.
I don't suppose there is a way to buy myself another month or two on the purchase, or perhaps some other path I could follow to avoid paying what I see as an unfair charge? My agent is confident of getting a sale agreed in a few weeks, but then the legal wheels need to turn on that front. And then I need to find something locally and enlist the lawyers once more.
And if I can't leverage the time I spent in my rental flat as previous primary residence, am I right in my understanding that I can't re-occupy said flat for a period in order to refresh the primary residence status, and thus re-qualify for the exemption, due to restrictions in the SDLT rules to stop 'switching'?
Many thanks for reading and for any responses in advance!
Apologies if I wasn't clear or have asked a frequently asked question (I couldn't find a post that answered my specific question). If anyone has any comments, even if it's just to point me at another relevant post, I'd be hugely grateful!
Here's the SDLT manual:
I'm not a tax expert or qualified, but I believe you are correct regarding the 3 year time period. I'm not aware of anything that prohibits you from reoccupying your previous property prior to sale, although I think this must be done in a certain way, i.e. register for council tax, etc. You could also qualify for Private Residence Relief and Lettings Relief on the sale of the property, saving any CGT due.
This is just my opinion, a property tax expert can give you qualified advice.
Many thanks for your reply, and for cooberating my understanding. Given the untenable costs, asayou suggest,I may end up having to move back into my property and to take a view after a couple of months or so. I just need to make sure the process I follow leaves me in good stead. I do need some space of my own :-)