Forces Help to Buy Scheme
How does the current government help to buy scheme for our armed forces work?
The pilot scheme was launched in April 2014 and has since been extended. The help to buy scheme is aimed at addressing the low rate of home ownership amongst the armed forces. The loan is for buying your first home or moving to another property on assignment or as your family’s needs change.
What is the Forces Help To Buy Scheme (FHTB)?
- You will be able to borrow up to 50% of your salary and any recruitment and retention pay (formerly Specialist Pay) up to a maximum of £25,000.
- The FHTB scheme is an interest free advance of salary and is to be repaid over ten years.
- Most mainstream mortgage providers accept FHTB, but you should first check with your proposed lender before progressing any formal mortgage application.
- Approval for FHTB is no guarantee that a mortgage lender will advance a mortgage.
- It is available to Regular personnel to buy their first home or move to a new location (more than 50 miles from their current property), although there may be some exceptions to this.
Forces help to buy FAQs
Are you eligible?
To be eligible personnel must fulfil the following criteria:
- Be in Regular service
- Those serving in the Naval Service must have been accepted onto trained strength, ie in a complement billet
- Army and RAF personnel must have completed two years’ service from the date of enlistment and be on the trained strength i.e. completed Phase 2 training
- Have at least six months left to serve at the time of application
- In the last twelve months, not have owned a property within 50 miles of the proposed house purchase (although there may be some exceptions to this)
How to apply
- To apply for FHTB you must complete the application form on Joint Personnel Administration (JPA)
- If accepted, you can be given a Personal Information Note by the MoD as evidence of your FHTB advance before seeking a mortgage offer
- Payment of the FHTB amount is made by BACS direct to your legal representative, who must apply for the funds at least 10 working days before the property completion date
What happens to the LSAP scheme?
During the FHTB pilot the LSAP scheme will be frozen. If you have LSAP you will continue to make your normal monthly payments, but you can apply to extend your loan to the FHTB limit if you are moving home and are eligible under the new rules. In these circumstances your LSAP loan amount will be consolidated into one arrangement under the FHTB scheme.
Can I still apply for Service accommodation?
If you buy a property using funds from the FHTB scheme and the property is within 50 miles of your current assignment location then you will not be eligible for either Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Single Living Accommodation (SLA) during your current assignment. If you already know your next assignment (starting within 6 months) and you choose to buy a home within 50 miles of there, you will also not be eligible for either SFA or SLA there.
You may choose to buy a property more than 50 miles from your current assignment location (or next location, if you already know what it is and it starts within 6 months). In this case your family will have to live in that property in the first instance – you will be eligible to use SLA (or SSSA) but not SFA for that assignment.
After buying your property, if your next assignment is more than 50 miles from your purchased home, your entitlement to SLA and SFA is reinstated.
If any subsequent assignment takes you to within 50 miles of the location of your purchased property your entitlement to SLA and SFA will be relinquished and you will be required to live in your own property.
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