8 May, 2014
The Legal Ombudsman’s report published today 8th May 2014 Complaints in Focus: Stamp Duty throws further light onto an issue that the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has been raising for some months with HMRC, the Land Registry and our regulatory partners.
Our expertise as specialist regulators of conveyancing and property law has given us insight and enabled us to bring forward work on this. We are pressing for system-wide changes to help ensure compliance with SDLT payment and are working with HMRC and our regulatory partners to that end. We regard it as best practice for SDLT to be paid at the time of completion.
Client protection, and the ability to make good losses that clients may have suffered in those few cases when the worst happens, are our priorities. It is important to remember that of the hundreds of thousands of transactions each year only a very small number will be affected by this but in those cases of course the impact on individual house buyers is very considerable.
We have in place rigorous standards and monitoring to ensure that we can uncover and deal with non-payment of SDLT and lawyers who are failing to pay SDLT on time can be sure that they will be found out.
In the case of Mr & Mrs E that is covered in the report, the CLC had already received an application to the compensation fund before the Legal Ombudsman completed their investigation. The Council for Licensed Conveyancer’s client protections, through insurance arrangements of individual practices as well as our compensation fund, can be accessed directly through the Council for Licensed Conveyancers as they had been in this case.