Stamp Duty Exemption for First Time Buyers

The Autumn Budget 2017 has provided some good news for first time buyers in the process of purchasing a property or those who are looking to enter into the property market.

The Budget on 22nd November 2017 announced that first time buyers will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty Land Tax with immediate effect on the purchase of a property, up to the value of £300,000.00. Furthermore, where a property exceeds the £300,000.00 limit but costs no more than £500,000.00 in a high value area, the first £300,000.00 worth of that purchase price will also be exempt.

This announcement will undoubtedly be received thankfully by those people up and down the country who are looking to purchase their first home. There are however a number of loopholes which may mean that the exemption does not apply.

The Government guidance[i] published on 22nd November defines a first time buyer as one or more persons who are buying a residential property in the United Kingdom and who have never owned a property in the UK or anywhere else in the world. The property must also be purchased as a main residence.

This therefore means that the exception would not apply if you had previously owned a property abroad and were purchasing in the UK for the first time. Furthermore it would not apply in the event that the property was being purchased for investment purposes, for example as a buy-to-let property. In these circumstances Stamp Duty Land Tax would be payable at the standard rates.

In addition to the criteria that form the definition of a first time buyer, property purchasers should be aware of any ownership of, in part or in full, although they may not have actively taken the steps to complete a purchase of that property. The two examples which have been provided by the Government via their Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator[ii] are:-

  1. Properties inherited under a will
  2. Properties owned by a trust under which the purchaser in question is a beneficiary

Having ownership of a property in either of these two circumstances would mean that the Stamp Duty exemption for a first time buyer does not apply, regardless of whether the property was wholly or partly owned.

While there are certain criteria to be met in order to qualify for the exemption, the announcement made on 22nd November is sure to provide some relief to those looking to get their foot on the property ladder.



Posted on November 24, 2017 .

Expansion of Fiona Bruce Solicitors Personal Injury Department

Jenny Gilbertson.jpg

Fiona Bruce Solicitors has expanded its Personal Injury Department with the additional appointment of Jenny Gilbertson, who specialises in Medical Negligence as well as Personal Injury. Jenny has over 25 years’ experience in this work, was previously with the Claimant arm of national law firm DWF and will manage the firm’s developing Accident and Medical Negligence work.

Practice Development Manager, Richard Bruce said, “As we celebrate our 30th year in business we are delighted to have secured such a strong appointment in Jenny with her wealth of experience in the highly specialised field of Medical Negligence.”

Photo shows Jenny Gilbertson outside the offices of Fiona Bruce Solicitors

Posted on October 3, 2017 .

New Appointment: James Thornton

Fiona Bruce Solicitors welcome the new appointment of James Thornton solicitor, specialising in litigation and commercial work. James lives locally with his family and previously worked for  national firm, Weightmans and international law firm, Eversheds, before joining Fiona Bruce Solicitors. He has a background in both business and the legal profession.

For more information please contact: Richard Bruce, Practice Development Manager, Tel: 01925 263273; email:

Photograph shows Stephen Gray welcoming new Assistant Solicitor James Thornton.
From left to right: James Thornton; Philip Porter (Partner); Richard Bruce (Practice Development Manager); and Stephen Gray (Partner)

new appointment.JPG
Posted on September 7, 2017 .

Feedback from our Clients

We ask each of our clients to complete a questionnaire with us, both on their initial meeting with us and at the conclusion of our services.  We're extremely happy with the results of these questionnaires: below are some of the key statistics and quotations from our clients.

Key Findings

  • 98% of clients would recommend Fiona Bruce Solicitors to others, according to Concluding Client Service Questionnaires.
  • 90% of comments made by clients in their Initial and Concluding Client Questionnaires combined were positive.
  • When asked to rate the service clients received in a number of areas on a scale of 1-5, where 1= poor and 5= excellent, the average score obtained from both questionnaires was 4.8

Clients' Comments

“I was very reassured and supported on my first and subsequent visits and always felt that my case was being handled effectively and with sensitivity. All staff were welcoming and polite. I felt confident that my case was being given the correct level of importance. From start to finish I felt reassured and confident that my case was being handled competently and sensitively. If I did have a problem then it was always addressed effectively. I would recommend my solicitor to my friends and family.”

“I particularly admired the professional outlook and the courteous treatment I received.”

“Efficient and accurate service, always a team member able to answer a question or advise.”

“All staff are extremely friendly, warm, professional, efficient, helpful. Everyone and everything was superb, I can't fault at all. I'm very grateful, thank you.”

“Efficient, friendly, thorough; gave sound advice.”

“Always found the service to be personal, affordable and efficient.”

“Service was professional and compassionate in difficult circumstances for me.”

“The team works well together and do their best with the situation they are presented with.”

“Everyone was pleasant and business-like and communicated in plain English.”

“Excellent service and helpful, knowledgeable staff.”

“We were very grateful for the help and efficiency received at such a delicate time.”

“Good quality service, responsive, personal.”

“Very helpful and solicitor seemed interested in us.”

“I received good advice and service at reasonable cost.”


“From start to end the advice, detail and care given to every question, query and concern was dealt with quickly and efficiently. Nothing was ever too much trouble despite how irrelevant they might have appeared; our advisers always had the time to discuss our case.”

Posted on August 24, 2017 .

Fiona Bruce LLP Solicitors Strengthens With New Announcement

Fiona Bruce LLP Solicitors of Stockton Heath are delighted to announce the appointment of Marguerite Tyler, Solicitor and Head of the firm’s Property Team, as a Partner with effect from 1st July 2017. Marguerite has been with the firm for a number of years, having originally joined Fiona Bruce Solicitors as a trainee in 2003. In addition, two new Associates have been added to the Practice: Gareth Langham, (Commercial and Private Client Work); and Tim Grainger (Head of Employment and Litigation), both of whom have been with the firm almost a decade.

Posted on July 14, 2017 .