Thank you for all your enquiries this month. Here are just some of the matters that have been concerning you

Q I left my matrimonial home 3 years ago and my wife and children still live in the home. There is no official separation order. My wife and I own the matrimonial home jointly. I have now found a home to buy myself and want to know how the new rules on stamp duty will affect me.

A The changes in stamp duty mean that as from 1 April 2016 anyone buying an additional property will pay a stamp duty rate 3% higher than the standard rate. As you already own a home with your wife you will have to pay this additional stamp duty. You need therefore to complete your purchase before 1 April 2016

Q In 2012 I bought a property with my sister. We paid the deposit equally and we have a joint mortgage. I moved out of the property in 2014 and stopped paying my share of the mortgage. My sister now wants to purchase my share of the property and wants to base the amount she gives me on the value of the property in 2014. I do not think this is fair as the property is now worth more than it was in 2014.

A I can see why your sister would want to use a 2014 figure because she has been paying the mortgage since then. If she had bought you out in 2014 then she would have had to pay you half of what was left after deducting the amount outstanding under the mortgage. So, if for example the property had been worth £260,000 and the mortgage £130,000 then you would have received half of £130,000 with your sister taking on your half of the mortgage. Using the value today complicates the issue because your sister has paid the whole of the mortgage since you left. If this is a repayment mortgage then she will have been increasing the proportion of the property owned by reducing the amount of the mortgage. Maybe a fair way to deal with this would be for you to receive half of the 2014 valuation plus any expenses you may have incurred in looking after the property since you left (if any)..

Q I am selling my home and have a buyer. Four years ago I created a large kitchen by removing a load bearing wall. I do not have any documentation in relation to these works and the buyer is saying that I must obtain retrospective building regulation consent

A You should have applied to your Local Authority for building regulation consent before starting the works and you should have obtained a building regulation completion certificate when the works were completed. If you contact the Local Authority for retrospective consent then this will delay matters. There is a possibility that your buyer may accept building regulation indemnity insurance. This is insurance that your solicitor can arrange for you at your cost so that if the Local Authority serve an enforcement notice the insurance will cover any costs incurred by the buyer in complying with the notice. There are certain conditions that your solicitor will be able to advise you about and your buyer would need to have a survey that does not reveal any problem with the works.

As always if you require any assistance with legal matters then e mail or contact the writer on 01425 279222