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Ask Your Own Question, Chartered Certified Accountant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 5115
Experience:  FCCA - over 35 years experience as a qualified accountant (UK based Practitioner)
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I have bought a flat which the council have a leasehold on.

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I have bought a flat which the council have a leasehold on. I would like to give the flat as a gift to a friend. How to I do it please? Do I contact the council to tell them first?
If it is a gift then do I need to pay tax? I bought it about 4 years ago. Do I need to tell Land Registry? It has a mortgage now but I hope to pay this off before transferring ownership.
Do I need a solicitor or can I do it myself quite easily?

Hello and welcome to the site. Thank you for your question.

If you are gifting a flat to a friend, I recommend you engage a solicitor to carry out the transfer transactions and completion of documentation.

The solictor would complete the relevant forms for Land Registry and also ensure there is no charge on the property if it is your intention to clear the mortgage prior to transfer.

If the property has been your main residence then there will be no capital gains tax implications as any gain made on sale/transfer would be covered by private residence relief.

Unless there are conditions in the sale agreement when you first bought the property from the Council requiring you to do so, you would not have to notify the Council prior to sale. Your solicitor will be well placed to advise you having read the documents.

The gift would be deemed a potentially exempt transfer for Inheritance tax purposes and the seven year rule would apply. Any gifts you make to individuals will be exempt from Inheritance Tax as long as you live for 7 years after making the gift.

More on this can be found here

I hope this is helpful and answers your question.

If you have any other questions, please ask me before you rate my service – I’ll be happy to respond.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please let me know if there is a charge to the Land Registry or someone else if I do not clear the mortgage first. It is a buy to let property so I will need to pay capital gains tax. Thank you.

Thank you for your reply.

Land Registry don't have a charge on the property.. It is normally the lender of money (Building Society/Bank) who has a charge to secure the debt..

Being a buy to let property, a transfer to another person would lead to a chargeable gain if the transfer value is higher than your original cost.

I hope this is helpful and answers your question.

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Best wishes