Earlier this year we reported that the SDLT exemption was increased to £250,000 temporarily until 2012 for first-time buyers, which is excellent news for those trying to take that first step on the property ladder.

A “first-time” buyer is defined as someone who has never owned a property. This means that they must not have previously held any interest in any property anywhere in the world. Matters can be complicated when a couple are purchasing property together and one of the parties has owned property before. In particular, those purchasing property together need to be aware of the SDLT claw back provision. The clawback applies if they later give away an interest in the property that has been purchased with the SDLT exemption. For example if they buy in one name only then transfer a half share to their partner who has previously held an interest in a property the clawback would apply.