Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rules are applied to the transaction as a whole, not to individual purchasers. If one of the purchasers already owns property, even a share, the subsequent transaction is subject to the higher stamp duty rates levied when an additional property is purchased.
Issues can arise if you own a property at the time of purchasing another property. This is the case even if you own just a share of the property.
An extra three percentage points are payable if
- you (or the person you are purchasing with) own other residential property worth £40,000 or more (anywhere in the world) and
- the dwelling being bought is not replacing the purchaser’s only or main residence.
This is the case even if one of the purchasers has no other property. If the other purchaser is caught by any of the above rules, then the entire purchase will be at the higher rate.
If a property is your main residence the if you buy a property with your girlfriend, within three years of selling this property, and if you intend to occupy this new property as your main residence, then you will not be charged the additional three percentage points of SDLT.
However, if the property that was sold in July 2016 was another investment property then you will not be able to use this exemption. If this is the case, you will need to pay the additional SDLT on the purchase of the property with your girlfriend (unless the market value of your share of the buy-to-let that you own with your friend is worth less than £40,000).