Q) Will I, as a buyer, be required to pay Stamp Duty?
A) Yes. Stamp Duty is paid by the buyer for properties costing more that £125,000.00. There are some exceptions to this rule for first time buyers and buyers of properties in disadvantaged areas, up to a value of £150,000.00.
Q) If a joint owner dies who is entitled to the property?
A) If the property is held as joint tenants, the property will pass to the surviror(s) ie. the other remaining joint tenant(s). If the property is held as tenants in common, the share of the person who died will pass to the beneficiaries of his or her Will, or to close relatives, as set out by Law, if there is no Will.
Q) Can I restrict my neighbours from building structures which would affect my property?
A) Not usually unless the neighbour is prepared to agree to a covenant on their property, preventing them doing specific things. If you sell a part of your property, then at the time of the sale you can ensure that covenants are placed on the property that is sold, again which restricts what can and cannot be done on the property. Such covenants have to be registered at the Land Registry, following which, they are binding upon the parties entering into the covenants.
Q) Are covenants only restrictive in nature?
A) No. Restrictive covenants prevent certain things being done on a property. Positive covenants ensure that things will be done. For example there can be a positive covenant that an owner of a property will erect and forever maintain a fence on one or more of the boundaries.
Q) When buying a house whose responsibility is it to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate and how long will it last for?
A) The seller has the responsibility to ensure an Energy Performance Certificate is obtained. It can remain valid for up to 10 years.
Q) If I want to extend my property do I need Planning Permission?
A) Whether or not Planning Permission will be required depends on the nature and size of the alteration to the property. In some cases a small extension can be added without the need for Planning Permission under the "Permitted Development Rights". Usually conservatories and porches qualify as Permitted Development. Planning Permission is likely to be required for any of the following building, engineering, mining in, on, over or under the land; A material change in use; or; An alteration to a listed building, or demolition in a conversation area.
Q) If I am buying a house, how much deposit will I have to pay?
A) The usual amount of the deposit to be paid on exchange of Contracts is 10% of the purchase price. Sometimes reduced deposits can be agreed. It should be noted, however, that in the current lending climate, deposits of up to 25% may be necessary, in order to obtain Mortgage funds.
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