Stapleton St

Electrics. Kitchen. Trip hazards..

This property is in poor condition, with original plasterwork throughout which needs replacing. Electrics have not been updated in at least 20 years, with an out of date electric consumer unit and some poorly installed electric sockets.

The kitchen is in poor condition and does not satisfy modern standards. There are trip hazards within the property and access to the loft room is dangerous.

Property facts.

  • £160,000
  • £7,800 paid in stamp duty

  • 3 bedrooms
  • Terraced
  • Long lease
  • Unmodernised

Case background.

The property was acquired for £160,000 by a foreign national buyer as a buy-to-let investment. Despite being aware of the issues related to the electrical consumer unit, trip hazards, and overall condition of the property, the buyer was advised by their conveyancing solicitor to pay the full residential rates of stamp duty.

However, upon contacting the buyer, who was well-known to us, it became clear that the property should have been designated as non-residential.


Case arguments.

The property has an electric consumer unit that was likely installed prior to 1975, with wiring from that era that is prone to brittleness and the potential for shorting, thus presenting a fire hazard.

The kitchen is outdated, with basic amenities, and is equipped with trip hazards from mismatched flooring. There is also a small trip hazard from the difference in height between the living room and kitchen.

A poorly installed electric socket in wooden cladding poses a fire risk, while upstairs, signs of dampness are evident due to water damage and faulty wiring that seems to serve a telephone socket. The electrical fittings on the first floor are also severely outdated.

Condition issues.

  • Outdated electrical consume unit
  • Badly fitted sockets
  • Minor damp issues
  • Kitchen in poor condition
  • Trip hazards


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Electrical issues. Outdated kitchen.

Property in unmodernised condition.



In hindsight, the 2018 Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act clearly indicates that the property should not have been considered as suitable for residential living. Despite its numerous habitability issues.

However, the client’s case was strong, and the claim was efficiently resolved within 3 weeks, resulting in a full reimbursement paid within 5 days.

Ultimately, the client paid a £200 stamp duty charge at a non-residential rate, which equates to 2% of £10,000 and exceeded the £150,000 stamp duty threshold.

As commonly seen, the conveyancing solicitor was hesitant to classify the property as non-residential in the stamp duty return, avoiding what they thought would be a contentious assessment.



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