How to apply for the next round of Help to Buy

The government has published details on what house builders and developers need to do access the next round (2021-2023) of Help to Buy equity funds.

If you want to market 2021 Help to Buy homes this year, you need to act quickly.

It’s worth remembering that Help to Buy 2021-23 is an entirely new scheme administered by Homes England that includes new terms and conditions, operating procedures, regulations and legal documentation. There is a lot to take in.

We summarise the main things you need to know and the next steps to take to qualify for Help to Buy 2021-23.

Criteria for successful application – key points to note

Download our Help to Buy application process checklist here:

Promotion of Help to Buy 2021-2023

The first thing to note is that you cannot take part in, promote or offer the new Help to Buy scheme to customers until you are fully in contract with Homes England under the new Help to Buy 2021-23 Funding Administration Agreement. If you breach this rule, you will have your application rejected.

Building Regulations

Eligible Help to Buy homes started on or after 1 April 2021 must comply with the building regulations in force as of 1 April 2021.

Eligible homes on developments started before 1 April 2021 must comply (as a minimum) with either:

  • The building regulations in force on 1 April 2020; or
  • The building regulations specified (if any) within any planning permission or agreement relating to the dwelling. This must be to the minimum standard under either the Building Regulations 2000 (as amended by The Building and Approved Inspectors (Amendment) Regulations 2006) or the Building Regulations 2010 (as applicable).

New Homes Ombudsman, Star ratings, Building Safer Future charter and the Consumer Code for Home Builders

Developers will be subject to the adjudication of the New Homes Ombudsman and must co-operate and comply with any investigations and consequent rulings imposed.

You will be required to adopt and comply with the Consumer Code for Home Builders for every home within the scheme, and members of the Home Builders Federation Star Rating Scheme must clearly show their rating on all Help to Buy promotions. Any deterioration in rating must be reported to Homes England.

Finally, where Help to Buy homes form part of a building either at least 18 metres or six floors in height (whichever is lower), you will be required to sign up to the Building a Safer Future Charter before work starts on the development.

Promotion, price caps, deposits, reservation fees and viewings

Any promotion using a “net” or “Help to Buy purchase price” will be considered by Homes England to be misleading.

Regional purchase price caps will be fixed for the duration of the scheme and only first time buyers will be eligible, even in cases where there is more than one buyer.

Eligible buyers must always contribute a 5% cash deposit, and be given the opportunity to view the home on or after practical completion and prior to binding (legal) completion.

Reservation fees cannot exceed £500.

Longstop dates

Year in the new scheme

Dates

Practical Completion Date

Legal Completion Date

Year 1

1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022

31 December 2021

31 March 2022

Year 2

1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023

31 December 2022

31 March 2023

 

Leasehold Homes

Leasehold houses will not qualify for the new programme unless they are constructed on inalienable freehold land only (registered to the National Trust or Crown Estate) and the house has been disposed of to the developer on a long leasehold basis from either the Crown Estate or the National Trust.

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.

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