In an environment where we are facing an unprecedented housing shortage the case of Sahar Chowdhury illustrates the unintended consequences of the the second home SDLT levy on some first time buyers . What we surely need is a simpler and less onerous system . The current SDLT rules militate against the free movement of residential property which cannot be in the interests of those trying to get their feet on the housing ladder.
When Sahar Chowdhury and her sister took an equal stake in their parent’s home in 2011 they had no idea that seven years later it would result in one of them paying almost £20,000 extra stamp duty. The original decision, made with inheritance in mind, seemed sensible at the time. The sisters' lives have followed a similar pattern since. They both married and for a while lived in rented accommodation with their husbands. Now both couples are about to buy their first marital homes. But Britain's complex stamp duty rules - which even solicitors and officials at HM Revenue & Customs battle to comprehend - mean one couple will pay duty at a top rate of 8pc, and the other will pay it at a rate of 5pc.