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Back in April 2016, stamp duty rates were increased on second homes, meaning anybody purchasing an additional property must pay an increased stamp duty rate of 3% on their second property if the purchase does not replace their current main residence.

Across our conveyancing team, we frequently encounter questions from second home buyers where the situation isn’t quite so straightforward, therefore, we have answered some of these common queries below:

Can we help our children to buy?

It’s very common for parents to want to help their children get onto the property ladder for the first time, typically many parents do this by acting as a guarantor on the mortgage which means they are in no way part owners of the property.

However, very few lenders offer guarantor mortgages now and as a result we are seeing more examples of parents taking out a joint mortgage with their child in order to get a better mortgage rate.

As a condition for lending the money, many banks will ask the parent to also sign onto the deed of the property, making them part owners of the home. As a result they will be liable to pay the increased stamp duty as this will count as a secondary property.

Parents can still provide money towards the deposits and act as a guarantor for their child’s mortgage (if the option is available) without incurring the stamp duty increase.

As long as you are not the co-owner in any way, you’re in the clear.

Me and my partner are married, can we own two properties between us without paying extra?

The short answer for this one is no, any married couples or civil partnerships will be viewed as a single entity and therefor will be subject to the increased rate on any second property purchased after 01 April 2016.

I currently own two properties, but only until I manage to sell my old one.

This one comes down to timing.

The treasury has established that a purchase counts as a second property if the buyer still owns two properties at the end of the day of the transaction.

Thankfully, there is a 3 year grace period in which the owner can sell their previous main residence and claim a refund for any increased stamp duty they had to pay during that time (you can find details on how to claim a refund in the last section of this article).

I already owned my secondary property prior to April 2016, will I be subject to the increase if I move from my main residence?

If you already own your own home, as well as a rental property or holiday home prior to April 2016, you will not face the increased stamp duty if you are selling your home and moving to a new main residence. This is because you are buying a home and not a secondary property.

This essentially means you will not be retrospectively charged for already owning more than one property.

I’ve paid the increased stamp duty on my second property but have just sold my main residence, am I entitled to a refund and how do I claim it?

Yes you are, but only under the following conditions….

If you sell your main residence within 3 years of purchasing your second property, you are entitled to claim a refund on any increased rate paid during this time

For example:

For an additional property bought at £300,000, you would pay an increased stamp duty cost totalling £14,000 as opposed to the £5000 it would have been before the stamp duty increase took effect.

If you sell your main residence within 3 years, you will be entitled to a refund for the difference of £9000

For the refund to be valid, you will need to submit your claim to the HMRC within 3 months of the sale completion date or within 1 year of the date on which the stamp duty was filed on the purchase.

If you have any queries regarding increased stamp duty, and for any of your other conveyancing needs, Contact our expert residential property team by calling 0161 930 5151 or emails us at