Stamp Duty Holiday ends – huge potential for disputes

Jun 9, 2021

The housing market is charging towards the end of June 2021 with many buyers and sellers hoping to complete their transactions before the stamp duty rules change. This in turn is creating a huge demand in booking removal firms and certainly in the last couple of weeks of June will place significant strain on the banking system as money is being transferred electronically up and down chains.

Agreeing a June completion date on exchange of contracts and particularly a date towards the end of June carries with it the potential for a lot of extra dispute. Once the completion date is fixed and contracts have been exchanged on that basis – both the buyer and seller are legally committed to comply. If one party cannot complete on the required date, there is a process by which Notice is given demanding completion take place. If it is the buyer who fails to complete and cannot do so within the Notice period; the seller can retain the deposit.

In the vast majority of cases where something does delay completion; it is mainly only by several days and the loss claimed tends to consist of interest on the delayed payment, additional removal fees and possibly some hotel expenses.

The loss will be significantly higher however if the delay takes a completion from just before the stamp duty change to just after. Additional stamp duty will then apply and that could be a significant unexpected sum to find. The duty change after 30 June 2021 is that that the 0% threshold drops from £500,000 to £250,000 on completions from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021. From 1 October 2021 it will return to the standard amount of £125,000.

If your Removal company lets you down, or you cannot book any removers at short notice – you at least have the option of hiring a lorry and trying to do it yourself; getting your household goods into storage etc.

If it is the banking system that cannot cope with the demand for transfers of money – that is wholly outside the control of both buyer/seller and their respective conveyancing solicitors.

A completion that cannot take place on the required date will generally have a knock on effect up and down the property chain. The contractual responsibility remains with the buyer and seller. Claims on late completion will inevitably include additional stamp duty as it is plainly a foreseeable loss if a buyer cannot complete in June when anyone involved in a transaction at this time is only too well aware of the importance of the 30 June 2021.

All conveyancing solicitors can do is get the money in the banking system once it arrives with them. They cannot make it arrive at the other end on time.

Anyone involved in a property transaction that is due to complete in June should be aware of the risk that despite the best efforts of all concerned, completion might not take place until early July.

Arguments over who is entitled to sue who and for what, about late completion will not just be a matter of £500-£600 for those who are unfortunate enough to find completion occurs in July when the completion date was supposed to be June.

Our Dispute Resolution Team can assist anyone who gets caught up in this sort of scenario and can be contacted on DRTeam@herrington-carmichael.com or 01276 686222.


This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

Frankie Tierney

Frankie Tierney

Partner, Disputes and Claims

Sign up

Enter your email address for legal updates on Property & Construction Law.

Please see our privacy policy regarding use of your data.

Contact us

    The information you submit will be handled in accordance with our privacy policy.

    FREE: Legal Insights and Event News 

    Keep you, your family and / or business up to date on how the law affects you, by subscribing to one of our legal insights.

    Subscribe for free Legal Insights
    & Event updates

    Receive the latest legal developments and professional advice to keep your family and business safe.
    Please choose which list you would like to subscribe to below.

    Please see our privacy policy regarding use of your data.

    Latest News & Insights

    Top Legal Insights


    Contract Law

    Material Breach of Contract

    What is a ‘material’ breach of contract by a party to a commercial contract? This is a critical issue regularly considered by the courts. What constitutes a material breach and what are the remedies?

    Property Law

    Commercial Lease: The Financial impact on Landlord and Tenant

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the restrictions now in place to control its spread, are having a significant effect on many business sectors.

    Divorce and Family Law

    Divorce in Lockdown: Can I get some discreet legal advice?

    We have spoken to clients who are unfortunately experiencing some family issues, and would like to obtain expert legal advice, yet don’t know how...

    Land & Property Dispute

    Restrictive Covenants – The Price of Modification

    Having identified that your land is burdened by a restrictive covenant and for the purposes of this article the covenant in question will be that only one residential building can be erected on the land. What do you do next?

    Wills, Trusts and Probate

    Why is having a will so important?

    It is entirely up to you if and when you want to create a Will, but it is important to be aware of the consequences of not having a Will.

    Award winning legal advice

    We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2020 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2020.


    60 St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4JS 

    +44 (0) 203 755 0557



    Building 2  Watchmoor Park, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey  GU15 3YL

    +44 (0)1276 686 222


    Wokingham (Appointment only)

    4 The Courtyard, Denmark Street, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 2AZ

    +44 (0)118 977 4045


    © 2020 Herrington Carmichael LLP. Registered in England and Wales company number OC322293.

    Herrington Carmichael LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Privacy   |   Legal Notices, T&Cs, Complaints Resolution   |   Cookies   |   Client Feedback