Chan Neill Solicitors LLP is delighted to be shortlisted in the British Legal Awards 2020

Chan Neill Solicitors LLP is delighted to be shortlisted in the prestigious British Legal Awards 2020- Boutique Law Firm of the year.


Gazumping- What is that , is it legal and how to avoid it?

How to avoid being gazumped – an essential guide to the first time buyers


In simple terms, Gazumping is when a vendor has accepted an offer from a potential buyer but later sells to another buyer.


Although it may seem like a very ‘illegal’ thing to do, Gazumping is very much legal. The conveyancing process is a two stage legal process: exchange and completion and until contracts are exchanged, the transaction is not binding.


This means that either party can walk away from the transaction before contracts are exchanged with no legal implication.


Unfortunately, this also means that if you have been gazumped at a pre-exchange stage then you will be left to pay a legal bill for all pre-exchange work conducted by your solicitors.


There are many reasons that a vendor may sell his/her property to another party although your offer had been accepted, but we find the most common reasons to be:


1. The seller has accepted a higher offer for the property

2. The vendors solicitors are experiencing delays with your solicitors

3. You do not have your finances in hand


How to prevent being gazumped


In order to prevent being Gazumped, we suggest the following top tips to bear in mind:


1. Speak to the estate agent to get an idea of how popular the property is


If you have had viewed the property and are quite keen to purchase the property then estate agents will be able to advise you on how popular the property is and whether the buyer is likely to receive offers under or over the asking price. If the property is struggling on the market then there is a good chance that the vendor will accept an offer under the asking price and will be keen to sell this to you. If however, the property is gaining a lot of interest, then it is worth you making a competitive offer to ensure that you are not gazumped for a higher offer at a later stage.


2. Be transparent from the outset about your finances and timescales by which you intend to complete the purchase


We find that vendors become frustrated during the conveyancing process when prospective purchasers avoid confirming their finances from the outset i.e. cash purchase, mortgage or chain transaction. It is therefore very important that you let your solicitors know how you are funding the purchase from the outset so that all parties can aim for a realistic completion date.


If you are having trouble with finances for any reason, then it is best that you disclose this as soon as possible. In some cases, if the delay is only by a few weeks then the vendor may empathise and may be willing to extend the completion target date. If however, you do not disclose your financial hiccups and the vendor feels that you are time wasting, then it is very likely he will sell the property to another party.


3. Secure a mortgage offer in principal


If you are keen on purchasing a new property then it is worth contacting a mortgage lender to provide you with a mortgage offer in principle before property hunting, to ensure that you can book a survey in as soon as your offer to purchase has been accepted. This will show the vendor that you are serious about the purchase and it will make a good impression.


4. Ask for the property to be taken off the market


You could ask the vendor to take the property off the market as part of acceptance of your offer.


5. Ask your solicitors to draft a lock-in-agreement / exclusivity agreement


If the property you have viewed is one that you cannot bear to lose then you could ask your solicitors to draft an agreement to prevent the vendor from entertaining other offers for a fixed period of time i.e. 4 weeks. Of course, you would incur additional legal fees as this is not a standard conveyancing document, but at least this would provide you with peace of mind to have a survey booked or to secure your finances without the threat of being gazumped.


6. Obtain insurance


Some specialist insurance providers will offer insurance to cover legal, survey and mortgage lending costs should a purchase fall through. It will not prevent you from being gazumped, but it will at least help you to minimise your losses in the event unfortunate event that you are.


If you would like to instruct our conveyancing team for a residential or commercial sale/purchase, please do not hesitate to call our offices or email us at

Global Talent visa – summary of upcoming changes

The Global Talent visa caters to leaders or prospective leaders in the fields of science, engineering, humanities, medicine, digital technology or arts and culture.


With the introduction of more restrictive Innovator visa, the Global Talent route has gained popularity as it offers not only freedom of employment in the United Kingdom but also possibility to operate your own business. The other benefits of the Global Talent visa include possibility to settle in the United Kingdom after 3 years of being endorsed as an Exceptional Talent, permission to enter/remain in the UK for up to 5 years on a single application, absence of the requirement to have a confirmed job offer, and fast-track scheme which provides a quicker endorsement. In addition, there is no English or maintenance requirement and there is no cap on the number of eligible individuals who can use this visa route.

When applying for the Global Talent visa, there is a two-part process. The first part includes an application for endorsement, whilst the second part is the visa application itself, subject that the endorsement application being successful.


In the past years there have been a few changes made to this visa route. The latest changes were announced by the Home Office on 22 October 2020. Important to note that applications submitted on or before 30 November 2020 will be assessed according to the current Immigration Rules. Whereas applications submitted on or after 1 December 2020 will be assessed under the new Rules. The new changes, which concern part one of the process, are made to the criteria for consideration of senior appointments and the definition of the types of academic and research roles that qualify under this visa route.


The most noticeable changes concern Digital Technology applicants who wish to be endorsed by Tech Nation. As such, the Key and Qualifying criteria are being restructured whereas a simpler set of mandatory and optional criteria will be introduced.


At present, the prospective Digital Technology applicants are required to provide at least 10 documents showing compliance with minimum one Key and two Qualifying criteria. As of 1 December 2020, leading talent and potential leader applicants will be required to demonstrate compliance with at least 2 out of 4 optional criteria. Most importantly, the criteria regarding Continuous Learning is being removed.

For many years our Immigration Team has successfully assisted applicants with their applications under the Global Talent and its predecessor Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa routes. Please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team for assistance and advice in relation to entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK and settlement visa applications under the Global Talent route.


Please note that requirements may vary from case to case based on the nuances of your situation, and the information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice.

Chan Neill Solicitors- We are working.

All our staff are still working and available to answer any queries through the second English lockdown. For any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Stamp Duty Land Tax Temporary Relief

From the 8th July 2020 to the 31st March 2021 inclusive, the UK government has temporarily raised the tax threshold for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) from £125,000 to £500,000 to help buyers, including first timer buyers, overseas buyers and investors, buy to let investors as well as companies in their purchase of properties in England and Northern Ireland.* 

Our property conveyancing team at Chan Neill Solicitors has summarised the temporary SDLTrelief for you in a straightforward way.  

1. SDLT is a standard tax required by the government paid by the buyer when purchasing a residential property in England and Northern Ireland*.

2. SDLT applies to both freehold and leasehold properties, newbuild or existing properties, commercial or residential properties.

3. SDLT is a tiered, threshold system, where the higher the property value, the higher stamp duty you are required to pay.

4. If you or your spouse own more than one property worldwide (have a property registered under your name or your spouse’s name), you pay an additional 3% surcharge on top of the standard rates for SDLT.

Purchase of sole property (or replacement of existing main dwelling)

SDLT rate

Up to £500,000


The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)


The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)


The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)


Purchase of an additional property

SDLT rate

Up to £500,000


The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000)


The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)


The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)


Companies as well as individuals buying residential property worth less than £500,000 will also benefit from these changes, as will companies that buy residential property of any value where they meet the relief conditions from the corporate 15% SDLT charge.                                       

At Chan Neill Solicitors we are happy to advise our clients regarding complicated legal and tax issues, purchases, sales and re-financing of properties. We can also advise you on moving money from abroad to the United Kingdom.  For any further information please contact us at

* In Scotland buyers pay the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and in Wales buyers pay Land Transaction Tax.

Until when can I remain in the UK due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreak?

Throughout the last few months, the UK Government has taken several measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19. One of those measures was the closure of international travel borders. The inability to return to the countries of permanent residence due to flights restrictions and cancellations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in many people overstaying their UK visas.

The UK Government acknowledged the situation and to date has made several concessions. As such, the Home Office’s initial guidance conferred leave to remain until 31 March 2020 to Chinese citizens only, whose UK visas had expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020. The same was allowed to non-Chinese nationals who were normally resident in China.

The UK Government’s guidance was updated on 24 March 2020 to cover all nationalities, enabling people to extend their visas until the 31st of May.

On 22 May 2020, the UK Government extended its concession to 31 July 2020.

The travel restrictions have now been lifting globally. As a result, the Home Office is now expecting that people take all reasonable steps in order to regularise their immigration status in the UK or to leave the country by the 31st of July 2020. However, the announcement created somewhat of a confusion, since many countries worldwide are still in lockdown, hence, will not be opening their international travel borders at least by the end of August.

The UK Government was prompt to provide further clarifications. On 30 July 2020, amended guidance was published on GOV.UK website stating as follows:

“To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK to 31 August 2020.

From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure.”

The announcement further goes on to clarify that those, who intend to leave the UK but unable to do so by the 31st of August, may request additional time to remain in the UK by contacting coronavirus immigration team.

Most importantly, the Home Office has now confirmed that the period of overstaying in the UK between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 will have no future adverse immigration consequences for those, who did not make an application to regularise their immigration status.

If you are concerned about your immigration status in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team for advice.

Please note that requirements may vary from case to case based on the nuances of your situation, and the information on this page is not intended to replace legal advice.

COVID 19: Innovator and Start-Up visas

In these unprecedented times, Innovator and Start-Up applicants might find themselves in the situation, where they may experience difficulties fulfilling their business plans and maintaining contact with their endorsing bodies.

The Home Office has been prompt in addressing the issues surrounding Innovator and Start-Up migrants may face due to the Coronavirus outbreak:

1. Individuals who have not yet been endorsed

Endorsing bodies may still issue endorsements. If prospective applicants are outside the UK, the endorsing bodies should ask them whether they are able to make a visa application and to travel. The endorsing bodies should also consider with all applicants whether they are likely to be able to start developing their business in the UK under the current situation. If not, they should consider delaying the applicants’ endorsements until a later date.

2. Individuals who have been endorsed but have not yet applied for a visa

Endorsement letters are valid for 3 months. If an individual is unable to make a visa application within this timeframe, the endorsing bodies will need to issue them with a new endorsement (using a new secure reference number) before they can apply. The endorsing bodies should have a discussion with the applicants (as set out above) before they do so.

3. Individuals who have applied for a visa but are unable to travel

Individuals should refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) immigration guidance on website for the latest information.

4. Individuals who are due to have a checkpoint with their endorsing body

Endorsing bodies should maintain contact checkpoints with the individuals they have endorsed wherever possible. It is not necessary for these to be face-to-face. The Home Office encourage endorsing bodies to arrange checkpoints via telephone or video conferencing. It is important for applicants to know that they continue to have the support of their endorsing bodies. The endorsing bodies should make allowances for the current situation when considering the applicants’ progress against their business plans and where possible, discuss future contingencies. The endorsing bodies must notify the Home Office if an applicant misses a checkpoint without their authorisation.

5. Individuals who need to apply to extend their stay

The endorsing bodies should continue issuing endorsements as normal to individuals who are in the UK, whose visas are expiring and who wish to apply to switch into the Start-Up or Innovator categories or to extend their stay in the Innovator category. For those applying to switch from Start-up to Innovator or to extend their Innovator visa, as with the checkpoint guidance above, the endorsing bodies should make allowances for the current situation when considering the applicants’ progress against their business plans and where possible, discuss future contingencies.

At Chan Neill Solicitors we continue assisting clients with their Immigration enquiries. If you are concerned about your current visa or about your prospective visa application, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team.

UK work visa: Sponsorship of EU and non-EU nationals post 1 January 2021

On 6 April 2020 the Home Office published a new version of a “Tier 2 and 5 of the point-based system: guidance for sponsors”, wherein they have provided the guidance for employers who wish to apply for a Sponsorship License to sponsor migrant workers under the new point-based immigration system that will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

There will be a single immigration system in place for EU and non-EU citizens once the freedom of movement with the EU has ended on 1 January 2021. As such, in order for EU and non-EU nationals to work in the UK legally, they would be required to obtain a valid visa under skilled worker route which will replace Tier 2 (General) visa route. The job on offer will need to be at level 3 or above of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (“RQF”) or equivalent level in Wales or Scotland. This level is approximately equivalent to A-level standard. The minimum salary threshold will be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600 (lower salary level may apply for “new entrants”). The ability to speak English will be a mandatory requirement. According to the Home Office, the applicant would be able to “trade” certain characteristics against the salary that they would otherwise be required to earn in relation to the job on offer.

Those UK based companies, who do not currently hold the Sponsorship License but intend to sponsor migrant workers post 1 January 2021, can apply for one as of now. It is important to note that Licensed sponsors would not be able to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (“COS”) to a migrant worker at RQF level 5 or below until 1st of January 2021. The Home Office intends to start accepting applications under the new point-based system from Autumn 2020.

Should you require any assistance with the Sponsorship License application, or you require legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration team.

Can I access UK public funds due to COVID-19?

If you have a temporary visa that allows you to live in the United Kingdom, it may include the “no recourse to public funds” condition. This means that you are not able to claim most benefits that are paid by the UK Government.

On 23 April 2020, the UK Government published guidance outlining the support available to migrants with “no recourse to public funds”. This article summarises the support offered by the state.

If you currently hold a UK family or private life visa, you can make a “Change of Conditions” application to access UK public funds if:

- You are destitute or at risk of destitution;

- Your child’s welfare is at risk due to low income;

- You are in other exceptional financial circumstances.

When considering making such an application, you ought be aware of the fact that removing “no recourse to public funds” condition would not only place you on the 10 years’ route towards settlement in the UK, but also, if you manage to change it back to 5 years’ route towards settlement, your clock will start from 0.

If you need a medical treatment in the UK (including being tested for the virus and result comes back negative), you will not have to pay for diagnosis of treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have a medical condition that makes you vulnerable to coronavirus, you can get help, such as deliveries of medication and food.

If you are employed in the UK, you may be able to access:

- Statutory Sick Pay;

- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance;

- Support provided to employers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you are registered as self-employed, you may be able to apply for a grant through the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If you cannot afford rent, the landlord cannot initiate all eviction and possession proceedings, which have now been suspended for 90 days from 27 March 2020. Mortgage lenders offer repayment holidays of 3 months if you are in financial difficulty due to COVID-19 and cannot afford mortgage payments.

Asylum seekers may be able to get housing and money to support themselves and their family members while waiting to find out if they would be granted asylum.

If you are concerned about your immigration status in the United Kingdom, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team for guidance.