<preform>Q&A: Off-plan apartments; capital gains tax; cat trouble</preform>

Your property questions answered
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Your property questions answered

Q. Almost two years ago, I reserved an apartment off-plan in central Manchester. There has been a problem with planning, however, and it still has not been granted permission for the development. I have been assured that I can have my deposit of £1,000 back at any time, but is there any guarantee that the building will actually happen and will I be able to buy the apartment at the 2001 price?

A Green, by e-mail

A. I have been in touch with the selling agent regarding this development and they say that the planning application is still in progress and they apologise for the lengthy delay following the original planning application being rejected. They cannot, however, guarantee that the development will take place - the land still could be sold onto a third party for a different development. Also, the selling prices may not remain the same as that when you first reserved the property, however, in both of these cases you will still be able to have your deposit refunded. You will always take a gamble with tying up deposit money in this way.

Q. My mother has just inherited my grandfather's house, but she would like to sell it quite soon as she intends to move to a bigger property. Will she have to pay capital gains tax?

R Dawn, by e-mail

A. If she is living in the house as her main residence, she will not pay CGT. If not, when she comes to sell the house she will need to pay capital gains tax on the difference between what it was worth at the time of his death and what it is worth at the current market value. Personal allowances of £7,900 can also be deducted from this figure. Check www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/cgt/index.htm for more information and any further allowances that may be applicable.

Q. I have three cats but my estate agent has told me that potential buyers may be put off by cats in the house. I find this rather strange as a cat lover, but do want to sell my house. He wouldn't give me any suggestions as to what I could do with them. Have you any ideas?

Jude D, by e-mail

A. You could make sure that there is no cat odour in the house - you may have to ask an honest friend to tell you. Make sure litter trays, cat bowls and baskets are removed from view when showing people round and any cat hairs should have been removed from chairs. And it would be best if the moggies were consigned to the garden - in case your viewers are allergic to cats or just don't like them!

If you would like a query answered, e-mail: propertyq&a@independent.co.uk. Only those questions featured will be answered. Any advice given will not be legally binding