I'm at my wits end and wondering if anyone could advise/help if you've been in a similar situation. Our solicitors and HMRC do not have a definitive answer.
We are first time buyers and assumed we would qualify for SDLT relief up to £300,000. The property we are purchasing is £330,000.
We're purchasing a 1 bedroom ground-floor flat that is being sold as freehold (it also has a 57 year old lease which will be transferred to us but this is nil and void as we own the freehold too). The freehold means we will also be landlords to the one property above ours (a 2-bedroom flat across the 1st and 2nd floor).
There is a condition in the First-Time Buyers guidelines that we're not sure if we satisfy:
As we are purchasing the freehold that relates to the entire building and, thus, the flat upstairs (although we have absolutely no interest in that property) - does that rule us out for first-time buyer relief?The first condition: Purchase of a single dwelling
Relief is only available in respect of the purchase of a major interest in a single dwelling. A purchase of more than one dwelling in a single transaction will not give rise to relief. It will be important in some cases to determine whether premises consists of one or more than one dwelling - It is a question of fact whether a purchase consists of one or more than one dwelling. A self-contained part of a building will be a separate dwelling if the residents of that part can live independently of the residents of the rest of the building, including independent access and domestic facilities.
See Chapter 4 for the definition of “dwelling”.
A purchase is a purchase of a major interest if the interest acquired is a freehold or leasehold interest; for this purpose, an acquisition (whether by grant or transfer) of a lease with less than 21 years to expiry from the effective date, is not treated as a major interest.
Obviously, as this is such a new scheme, everyone thinks this is quite an unusual situation that nobody seems to have encountered. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.