Armed Forces Conveyancing Services
On the lead up to Armed Forces Day, Suzanne Broughton, Partner and Head of our Residential Conveyancing team, discusses the FHTB scheme for armed forces personnel and the offers Wolferstans Solicitors' Conveyancing team provides.
In 2017, Wolferstans Solicitors were the first law firm to be awarded Gold under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in recognition of our support to our armed forces community both within Wolferstans and in our wider community. Two years on, Wolferstans continues to grow and evolve our commitment to support the Armed Forces Covenant. In doing so, we are delighted to offer a 10% discount to all serving personnel looking to buy their first home using the Forces help to Buy Scheme.
The FHTB scheme, which aims to encourage home ownership amongst Service Personnel was originally piloted in April 2014. The pilot scheme has now been extended until 31 December 2019.
The FHTB scheme enables regular armed forces personnel an opportunity to apply for an interest-free advance of salary (known as a loan), which is repayable for a period of up to ten years. In some cases, applicants may borrow up to 50% of their salary (up to a maximum of £25,000.00). The loan can be used for the purchase deposit or otherwise used to cover other costs and expenditures associated with the purchase such as professional conveyancing fees.
Whilst the scheme is open to all qualifying military personnel (see below), it is subject to certain limitations. For example, the property for which the FHTB loan is applied must be purchased for the applicant or his/her immediate family to live in. This means that the loan cannot be used to purchase a second home or an investment (buy to let) property. In some circumstances, such as extenuating family or medical circumstances, the FHTB loan may be claimed to extend or modify a currently-owned property.
In general, regular armed forces personnel who meet the following criteria may apply:-
Further guidance on the criteria for application may be obtained through your Chain of Command and Personnel Agency.
Applications can be made via the Joint Personnel Administration system and should be made as soon as possible after the sale/purchase price has been accepted. Applications may take six weeks to be processed and so the sooner you can submit your application the better, as any delay in your application being submitted will result in your purchase transaction being delayed. You should also instruct a conveyancer who is familiar with the FHTB scheme. You will be required to provide details of your conveyancer during the application process.
If you are applying for a mortgage to assist you to finance your purchase, you should check whether your mortgage lender is willing to proceed. Whilst most mortgage providers will accept FHTB, it is advisable to check in advance to avoid disappointment.
In the event of death or invaliding from service recovery of the loan may be through the FHTB Insurance scheme.