News & Updates
Reduced rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will apply for residential properties purchased from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 inclusive.
Published 8 July 2020 From:
Residential Rates on purchases from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,000 Zero The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 5% The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10% The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12%
Higher rates for additional propertiesProperty or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,000 3% The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 8% The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 13% The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 15%
New leasehold sales and transfersNet Present Value of any Rent SDLT rate Up to £500,000 Zero Over £500,000 1% Published 8 July 2020
An estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the UK has not been produced for 15 years, the National Audit Office says.
An up-to-date estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom has not been produced for 15 years, according to a report.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said the last estimate in 2005 suggested there were around 430,000 people in the country with no right to remain.
But independent research since has put the figure at more than one million, Whitehall's spending watchdog said.
The NAO's report into the Home Office's immigration enforcement directorate said the department had estimated demand for immigration enforcement activity.
This was put at between 240,000 and 320,000 cases a year.
But the report said there was no baseline given against which progress can be measured or to demonstrate whether demand is rising or falling.
The watchdog concluded that despite collecting information around its mission and objectives, the Home Office often cannot demonstrate whether its measures are working.
Common questions answered around family and children’s law during the Covid-19 outbreak
Q. How is the outbreak affecting domestic abuse victims and their ability to access the help they need?
Q. If I have a shared custody agreement, can I still take my child to see their other parent?
Q. How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect those going through the divorce process?
Q. How is the Covid-19 lockdown affecting children’s care proceedings?
We can draft a will which allows you to set out exactly how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death. This ensures that your wishes are adhered to when you pass on
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’). There are two different powers – one for health and one for finance /property
People living in rented accommodation in England and Wales who have received an eviction notice have been urged not to move out.
The government announced a three month ban on evictions as part of emergency coronavirus legislation.
But the ban only covered new eviction proceedings, not people already in the court system.
Last week, ministers caved in to pressure from Labour and charities and announced a complete ban on evictions.
The courts in England and Wales have been instructed to "suspend all ongoing housing possession action", the government said in a statement.
The suspension "will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed", the statement added, with all private and social renters, as well those with mortgages, to be protected.
The move is thought likely to affect about 20,000 people who had been facing repossession.
In Scotland, MSPs are planning introduce a temporary ban on evictions in their emergency coronavirus legislation, but it will only covers new evictions, not people already facing court proceedings.
Housing charity Shelter fears some people in England and Wales, who might not be aware of their rights, are still being forced out of their homes by their landlords.
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: "The government's blanket ban on evictions is good news for millions of renters who can now safely remain in their homes.
"It's crucial people know they're protected and that no legal action can be taken to evict them for at least the next three months.
"Even if they receive an eviction notice from their landlord in the coming weeks they should not feel any pressure to leave until this crisis is over, and should stay where they are."
The charity's advice for private rented, council or housing association tenants is:
- It is illegal if your landlord makes you leave without notice or a court order - or locks you out of your home, even temporarily
- If you have had an eviction notice from your landlord you should stay in your home
- In most cases, if an eviction notice is issued between 27 March and 30 September, the landlord must wait three months before they can apply to court
- If your landlord has already applied to court then your case will be put off for 90 days
- The court will tell you when any new hearing is but this may take some time
The government is advising people to continue paying their rent - and for those struggling financially to speak to their landlords about setting up a payment plan or to seek help through the benefit system.
It says lenders will support struggling landlords, and those with buy-to-let mortgages will be entitled to a three month payment holiday.
But campaign group the London Renters Union is calling on the government to suspend all rent payments - and to protect people from having to pay big arrears when the crisis has eased.
The group says thousands of people are continuing to have to go to work because of pressure from landlords, meaning they are unable to follow the government's social distancing guidelines.
In a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, the group said: "Urging landlords to 'show compassion' does nothing in reality to protect renters. The government has left renters to fend for themselves.
"As the government's recent guidance clearly states, tenants are still legally obliged to pay rent and landlords are still able to issue eviction notices to renters who enter into rent debt.
"The eviction process will begin as soon as the temporary ban on evictions is lifted."
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a response.
'More help needed'
The government is temporarily making the housing benefit system more generous to help people struggling to meet rent payments, by increasing it to cover 30% of the market average rent in each area.Image copyright Shelter Image caption
The move was welcomed by Shelter, but the charity is urging the government to go further and increase the Local Housing Allowance - the housing component of Universal Credit for private renters - to more of local market rates, and to end the five-week wait for new claimants.
The charity says there has been a surge in people applying for benefits, in many cases for the first time.
Ms Neate said: "At Shelter we're receiving daily calls from people up and down the country who are worried about how they'll pay the rent, keep the lights on and put food in the fridge in the coming weeks and months.
"That's why we're urging the government to go even further on its welfare measures to help people through the financial shock created by this pandemic.
"To prevent households slipping into poverty and debt, the government should temporarily increase housing benefit so that it covers the average cost of local rents.
"And to make sure help is available from day one it must end the five-week wait for universal credit, by turning advance payments into a grant instead of a loan."
The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.
Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.
Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.
Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.
Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.
The government said that while there "is no need to pull out of transactions", "we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times".
If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals.
But if the house is occupied "we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move".
Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicts housing transactions will drop by up to 60% over the next three months.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of sales that had been agreed before the lockdown are falling through.
The property listings site said the UK housing market had a strong start to the year before the coronavirus outbreak crushed demand.
The pandemic has led to a "rapidly increasing" proportion of sales falling through, as would-be buyers "reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times".
Rival Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been "significant".
"The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters' protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents," it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.
In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers' Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.
"Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed," UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.
"Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful," he said.
"To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date."
Information on this page
Can my landlord evict me straight away because of coronavirus?
What if I'm a lodger?
What if I've had notice from my landlord?
What if my landlord has already applied to court?
Rent payment problems
I'm worried about rent arrears. What should I do?
Mortgage arrears and repossession
I'm worried about mortgage arrears. What should I do?
Income and benefits
I need to claim benefits. Where do I start?
Can I apply for universal credit during the coronavirus outbreak?
I get some housing benefit but now I've lost my job. How can I pay my rent?
Landlord access to your home
Can my letting agent still go ahead with visits and inspections?
What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due?
Can I leave my tenancy early because of coronavirus?
Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa has recently expired or is about to expire
Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China
Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by Irish authorities (British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)
Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by the Crown Dependencies
Switching to a Tier 2 category in the UK
Information for Chinese or third country nationals in China
Bookings for Secure English Language Testing (SELT)
Chinese or third country nationals whose passport is at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
British nationals in China who need to apply for a passport
Licensed Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 sponsors: absences due to coronavirus
Additional immigration queries
Coronavirus Immigration Helpline
Additional resourcesPublished 17 February 2020Last updated 27 February 2020 + show all updates source:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-immigration-guidance-if-youre-unable-to-return-to-china-from-the-uk
The UK is introducing a points-based immigration system from 2021.
Visa application process
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
Global talent scheme
International students and graduates
Other visa routes
Visiting the UK
EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020
Crossing the UK border
Proving immigration status in the UK
Published 28 January 2020Last updated 19 February 2020 + show all updates source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know