Category: Property law

Help-to-Buy ISA

Help-to-Buy ISA

help-to-buy-isaThe Basics:

  • Like any other ISA, the depositor places an amount of money in an account and the bank or building society will pay interest on these funds
  • Unlike other ISA’s the Help-to-Buy ISA can be opened with a maximum initial deposit of £1200 and following payments being limited at £200 per month
  • Where the government comes in is with a free 25% bonus on any funds in the ISA when it comes to using the total amount on purchasing property
  • The maximum government bonus on this scheme is £3000 (meaning a total saving £12,000 is required) and the minimum bonus offered is £400 (requiring £1600 total in the ISA account)


  • UK resident over the age of 16
  • Be a first time buyer (cannot own property nationally or internationally)
  • Have valid National Insurance number
  • No other active cash ISA’s in the same tax year
  • The property must:
    • Be in the UK
    • Have a purchase price of up to £250,000 (or £450,000 in London)
    • This is a nested bullet point
    • Purchased for yourselves (not a buy-to-let)
    • Be purchased with a mortgage
    • Be the only home you own


  • The ISA is available per person not household, and therefore a couple purchasing a property can receive a maximum bonus of £6000 free from the government (both purchasers having an ISA each)
  • The ISA can have funds removed whenever the holder likes and the remaining funds still accrue interest as normal
  • Help-to-Buy ISA can be transferred between banks to benefit from the best possible interest rates
  • The ISA can be combined with other government backed incentives in the Help-to-Buy schemes
  • The funds can be kept in the ISA forever and the money can be used for any reason
  • The funds can be used to buy any type of residential property and does not need to be your only source of deposit


  • Restrictions on the amount you can save; paying in the maximum of £200 a month, it will take four and half years to save a total of £12,000 and gain the maximum bonus of £3000
  • Average house prices in the UK are around the £200,000 mark as of April 2016, in London the average price of a home is £470,000 and areas such as the South East average prices stand at £300,000, therefore in some regions first time buyers may find it hard to find qualifying properties
  • If the funds are used for anything but the purchase of a property, the 25% bonus is not applicable
  • A large drawback on the scheme is that the bonus is not released on exchange of contracts and therefore cannot be used for the initial deposit, the bonus will go towards the final payments for the property upon completion of the transaction

Conclusion: For future buyers looking to start saving towards a new home early this option is a no brainer. The ISA does not have to be used to purchase a property but the government will give you free money if you do. Additionally, the interest rates on these ISAs tend to be a little higher than normal cash ISAs and therefore offer a great savings solution for low earning future first time buyers whether they plan on purchasing a property of not. The biggest drawbacks are; the restriction on the maximum price of property which in some areas will be what holds back buyers, and also that the government bonus cannot be put towards the initial deposit which the sum most first time buyers struggle to reach.

Would you sell your own Grandmother?

Land Registry Main ImageHelp stop Government plans to sell off the Land Registry

On the 24th March this year the Government launched a consultation on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector. That consultation closes on the 26th May.

The Land Registry is one of the most important of public sector assets that, in my opinion, should never be sold or substantially tampered with. Raising money in this way, in order to reduce the public deficit, is short sighted and dangerous.

For most people in England and Wales safe and secure ownership of their property is of paramount importance, for the most obvious of reasons. Their property is their biggest asset and will, in many cases, provide their families with financial security for generations to come.

In the 42 years I have been involved in conveyancing there has been one constant provider of reliable service and that is the Land Registry. The Government selling the Land Registry is akin to having the morals of someone prepared to sell their own Grandmother.

The Government’s proposal would mean a private company, rather than the impartial and statutory Land Registry, would be adjudicating title on transactions between other private companies, on the land rights of citizens, of mortgage lenders, and local and central government.  This makes no sense.

A few points to consider:

  • The Land Registry underpins property ownership worth £4 trillion across England and Wales including £1 trillion of mortgages
  • The Land Registry holds over 24 million titles of land
  • The Land Registry should remain under impartial control
  • The Land Registry provides a guaranteed register of interests in land
  • The Land Registry is run at no cost to the Exchequer
  • A new owner is likely to want to increase prices
  • A new owner would seek to increase profits and is likely to want to ‘streamline’ services
  • A new owner would effectively have a monopoly market
  • With property fraud on the increase and the Land Registry in many cases the last barrier to a fraud being perpetrated, the continued first class service being provided is vital
  • Selling the Land Registry is financially very short-sighted. It already makes a substantial profit. With a very modest increase in the cost of some of the services provided, that profit could increase
  • The Land Registry being run by a new owner might not be as efficient, causing delays in registrations and other applications, resulting in more transactions falling through

Never has the expression’ if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ come to mind so readily. If you are opposed to the privatisation of the Land Registry please sign the petition (and ask others to do the same):

Please click here to sign the petition

This article is by guest author Rob Hailstone of the Bold Legal Group

If you would like to get more actively involved please email Rob Hailstone direct ( and he will let you know what more you can do.

Rob Hailstone: 07817 630714

Bold Legal Group

Would you sell your own Grandmother?
Landlord and Tenant – Getting it Right

Landlord and Tenant – Getting it Right

Landlord and Tenant - Getting it Right

Landlord & Tenant – The De-Regulation Act 2015 – Getting it right

Landlords beware!

For landlords, in October 2015 the law of landlord & tenant changed.   Landlords now need to take notice of these important changes in the law.

The main changes centre around deposit protection and the correct serving of s.21 notices for all new tenancies created from 1st October 2015. Our specialist in landlord & tenant law will happily guide you through the changes.

Being a landlord can be and should be an enjoyable and profitable experience. For landlords who get it right, it will be. We can assist in helping landlords do that.

Newnham & Jordan Solicitors are specialists in all types of landlord and tenant cases. If you are considering entering into the world of being a landlord and wish us to advise on your obligations, or if you are a landlord already but are owed rent or simply need your property back, we will always look at the matter from your point of view and always look to take on your case in a cost effective manner. We don’t push paper around. Landlords like to see positive and decisive action. This is what we do.

We offer landlords a 2 stage fixed fee service for routine possession claims. £400 + vat for preparation of the notice, commencement of proceedings and all work up to the point of 1 hearing which is then followed by the 2nd stage fee of £200 + vat for attendance at the hearing, preparation of the warrant and attendance at the eviction. Court fees are in addition to this, normally £280 issue fee and £110 warrant fee

Not only do we advise on the law, but we give practical, sensible and cost effective advice which gets results.

(costs quoted are subject to change over time.  Please contact us for an accurate quotation for your particular matter)

To read about our Landlord & Tenant service click here.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham &  Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for  any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this  article or any external articles it may refer or link to.

5 Top Tips For When Choosing an Estate Agent To sell Your Home

Estate Agent

When selling your home, you want to choose the right estate agent. Here are some things to think about when choosing your estate agent.


A good local estate agent will know the market in your local area very well.  They will also have a good set of connections in the local area which can make a big impact how long it takes to sell your property.

Multiple agents or Just One

You need to think about whether you are going to use one Estate Agent or multiple agents.  Listing your property with every estate agent on the high street will get your property more exposure and potentially more viewers through the door, but then you would have to pay out more on fees. This is the main reason why people will choose just one agent.  However, it may take longer by just using one agent.

Can you recommend someone

Why not ask your conveyancing lawyer to see if they can recommend a good local agent? This can save time trying to find a good agent.


Make sure you consider what the realistic price for your property is; take in to account the condition, location and area of your property. Don’t get fooled by agents suggesting high valuations as you might find yourself disappointed months later when your property still hasn’t sold, the estate agent could be concerned that you will not place the property on the market with them if they suggest a lower price as you as a seller are likely to prefer a higher valuation even is this is unrealistic.  You can also check actual sold house prices on both Rightmove and Zoopla. It is the land registry “sold” figures that you need to consider rather than the headline marketing price of other local properties.   You as the seller, can set the price for the property. You can say to the agent exactly how much you want to sell it for and how much you may be prepared to negotiate by.


All Estate Agents will have different terms and conditions; their fees will also cover different things. It’s common for Agents to charge from .75% up to 3% (excluding VAT) of the agreed sale price. Fee are normally negotiable, and a good Agent will be happy to talk through their fees and find a fee that you are happy with.

Beware of agents that offer incredibly low fees. It would be worthwhile looking through their terms and conditions to see what is included, sometimes you can find that agents with low fees may not include, for example, accompanied viewings, professional photographs and floorplans.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham &  Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for  any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this  article or any external articles it may refer or link to.

Estate AgentEstate Agent

£1.3 Million House Stolen

£1.3 Million House Stolen

Nowadays we are all too aware of how often internet scams, fraud and identity theft occur. What most of us miss is the level that these elaborate scams can reach.

Stolen House

In a recent article by the Daily Mail it was reported that a west London property worth £1.3 Million was sold without the owner’s knowledge. This incident follows a number of ‘high value home’ frauds across the country all of which have now come to the attention of the Metropolitan’s Police Cybercrime Unit.

You may ask yourself how such a scam could possibly take place… Surely both the solicitors and the estate agents must have measures in place to prevent such fraud? The truth of the situation is that professional fraudsters employ a combination of tactics including, identity fraud, cash payments and months of careful planning to achieve their goal. In this instance the female fraudsters impersonated the registered owner of the property by going as far as changing her names via deed poll. In doing so then managed to acquire a UK passport which was later used as ID with both the Estate agents and solicitors.

Professional fraudsters will also go to extreme lengths in researching potential properties to target which they know are un-mortgaged and have owners that do not live locally. This allows them to impersonate the real owner and initiate sale proceedings with an unsuspecting purchaser. The real victim of this fraud (The purchaser) will then proceed to transfer funds, which are usually swiftly re-directed to an offshore account.

The positive news in this particular case is that the Land Registry never actually registered the property due to a discrepancy on the paperwork. The property remained in the names of the original owners, however this scam has inevitably brought increasing pressure on both agents and solicitors to verify their client’s identification. Nevertheless it is all too clear that ‘high-end’ fraud is on the increase and a subject that is becoming all too common.

So what can we do as solicitors to combat this level of sophisticated fraud? The simple answer to this is get to know your client! Here at Newnham and Jordan we take the time to meet over 90% of our clients, which in turn builds up a more personal relationship as we progress your matter. This way we can be sure that the person presented to us in the passport photo is actually the person they claim to be. We also employ a number of additional protective measures when dealing with distant clients such as Anti-Money Laundering searches, bankruptcy checks and strict verification of both ID and address processing. All of which ensure that our clients avoid the kind of nightmarish situation described above.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham &  Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for  any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this  article or any external articles it may refer or link to.

Buying or selling a property? You are going to need professional and friendly legal advice. This is where we come in. Here at Newham & Jordan we strive on making your sale or purchase as stress-free as possible. We are based near Ferndown/Wimborne,  but we can still provide our excellent service right across England and Wales. Click here to get a quote.

Stamp Duty Land Tax from 5 December 2014

The big news in the Autumn Statement was the change to Stamp Duty.

• No stamp iStock_000022279360XSmall-dont-Drink-Drive1duty will be paid on the first £125,000 of a property
• 2% will be paid on the portion up to £250,000
• 5% is paid for the portion up to £925,000
• 10% is paid on the portion up to £1.5m
• 12% is paid on anything above that

HMRC have a handy new calculator here.

There are also more details here.

HMRC have stated that 98% of all buyers will pay less tax under the new system that under the old.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and  shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice.  Newnham &  Jordan Solicitors cannot accept  responsibility for   any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in  respect of this   article or any external articles it may refer or link to.


Stamp Duty Land Tax from 5 December 2014