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3% higher rates & grandfathering provisions

SDLT considerations when purchasing a main residence

Victoria and Brian are expecting their first child in March and have decided to move back to Northern Ireland to be close to their families.

After they married in 2010, they sold their flat in Belfast and moved to Guernsey where Brian had been offered a new job as a hotel manager. As part of the remuneration package, the couple were provided with accommodation and so did not purchase a property there.

They now have an offer accepted on a property near Comber. As they also own a property in Spain, they are concerned that they will be exposed to the higher rates of SDLT on the purchase of the Comber property.


  • A property interest outside the UK is included when determining if the higher rates apply
  • However, where the new property is a replacement of a main residence, the higher rates will be dis-applied if certain conditions are met
  • The legislation provides a window of 3 years for disposing of a main residence and purchasing a new main residence
  • However, for property purchases on or before 26 November 2018, there are special grand-fathering provisions which apply where a main residence has been disposed of any time prior to the purchase of the new main residence.

As the property purchase is due to complete in December 2017, and because they disposed of their Belfast flat in 2010, Victoria and Brian will not be exposed to the higher rates of SDLT.

If you have any queries around SDLT please do not hesitate to get in contact via our SDLT Advisory Service.

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