Buying an Uninhabitable House: Can a Building Surveyor Help You Avoid Stamp Duty?

Buying an Uninhabitable House: Can a Building Surveyor Help You Avoid Stamp Duty?

Friday 25th August 2023

Purchasing a new house is an exciting endeavour, but what if the property you have your eye on is deemed uninhabitable? The good news is that you may have a chance to avoid paying stamp duty if a qualified building surveyor verifies the property's unsuitability for immediate occupancy. In this blog, we will explore the potential benefits and processes involved in seeking exemption from stamp duty when purchasing an uninhabitable house.

Understanding Stamp Duty:
Stamp duty, also known as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in the UK, is a tax imposed on property purchases above a certain threshold. This tax can significantly impact the overall cost of buying a home. However, there are circumstances where you may be exempt from paying stamp duty, and one such situation is when purchasing an uninhabitable property.

Seeking Professional Assistance:
When considering buying an uninhabitable house, it is crucial to involve a qualified building surveyor early in the process. Working closely with a surveyor will help you assess the property's condition and determine its habitability. Their expertise will prove invaluable in providing an objective evaluation of the property's suitability for immediate occupancy.

The Importance of a Building Surveyor's Report:
A building surveyor will thoroughly inspect the property, identifying any structural issues, potential hazards, or major defects. Their report will outline the property's condition, highlighting any areas that render it uninhabitable or require extensive renovations. This report will be crucial in supporting your case for stamp duty exemption.

The Stamp Duty Exemption Process:
To potentially qualify for stamp duty exemption, you will need to provide the building surveyor's report to the appropriate authorities. While the specific process may vary depending on your location, it typically involves submitting the report to the tax authority or including it as part of your application for stamp duty relief. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional or tax advisor who can guide you through the exact steps and requirements in your jurisdiction.

Relying on Professional Opinions:
It's important to note that the decision to grant stamp duty exemption ultimately lies with the tax authority. They will review the building surveyor's report and any supporting evidence to determine if the property is genuinely uninhabitable. While there are no guarantees, a comprehensive and well-documented report can significantly increase your chances of success.

Buying an uninhabitable house may present an opportunity to avoid paying stamp duty, provided you can demonstrate its unsuitability for immediate occupancy. By involving a qualified building surveyor and obtaining a comprehensive report outlining the property's condition, you can present a strong case for stamp duty exemption. Remember to consult with professionals and thoroughly research the specific requirements and processes in your area. With careful planning and the right support, you may be able to navigate this unique situation and potentially save on stamp duty when buying an uninhabitable property.

Contact and what to do next:

As stated above, its important to get advice and a comprehensive report from a chartered qualified surveyor if you feel like you may be able to get an exemption from stamp duty.

Here at Tayross, Carl is a Chartered Senior Surveyor with experience in Planning, Building, Surveying and Party Wall related matters. He is happy help with any questions you may have regarding the above.

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