4. Should the provisional sale and purchase agreement be stamped and registered?
It depends on when the parties will sign the provisional agreement and the formal agreement.
For the sale and purchase of a residential property, the purchaser or the representing solicitor must arrange to stamp:
- the provisional agreement and formal agreement (if the formal agreement is signed more than 14 days after the signing of provisional agreement); OR
- the formal agreement only (if it is signed within 14 days from the date of the provisional agreement).
The provisional agreement may be registered at the Land Registry (after stamping). It must be registered if the parties fail to sign the formal agreement on the specified date. In a normal case, the purchaser's solicitor would arrange to register the formal agreement.
For the sale and purchase of non-residential property (such as commercial or industrial property), stamp duty is only payable upon the signing of the assignment (which will be signed on the completion day/property hand over day). Therefore, the preceding provisional and formal sale and purchase agreements are not required to be stamped and registered, although it would be prudent to register the formal sale and purchase agreement.