From 1 June 2024, the abolition of multiple dwellings relief under stamp duty land tax (SDLT) will stop disputes about what qualifies as a separate dwelling (e.g. a granny annexe). However, the scrapped tax will impact English and Northern Irish buyers who purchase two or more properties in a single, or linked, transaction.

At the moment, multiple dwellings relief reduces the overall SDLT rate when buying two or more properties in a single, or linked, transaction. The buyer pays SDLT based on the average price of each dwelling and benefits from two or more lower SDLT bands.

Relief abolished

The government has abolished the relief due to questionable claims, particularly relating to granny annexes. Unfortunately, genuine claims will now lose their relief, for example, buyers of a country home with a cottage in the grounds, or a town house with a self-contained basement flat. From 1 June, the amount of SDLT payable on a property costing £750,000 containing a qualifying annexe will double from £12,500 to £25,000.

Many buyers have been contacted by companies offering to help them claim back SDLT for a commission, but these refunds are often based on questionable entitlement to multiple dwellings relief.

While the removal of multiple dwellings relief will not affect the majority of properties, you should be aware that:

  • Relief is still available for a contract that was entered into on or before 6 March 2024, regardless of when completion takes place.
  • Otherwise, relief will only be available if a purchase is completed (or substantially performed) before 1 June 2024.

Six or more properties

Where six or more properties are purchased in the same transaction, non-residential SDLT rates can be applied. This means a maximum rate of 5% compared to a top residential rate of 12%; or 15% for a buy-to-let purchase. In the absence of multiple dwellings relief in future, buyers using this option will have to take care to structure such transactions to ensure all properties come under a single contract.

You can find out more about HMRC’s guide to SDLT on the government website.

If you would like to know more or need help, please get in touch with one of our experts.