Forces Help to Buy Scheme: All your questions answered

UK armed services personnel with Union Jack flag

The Forces Help to Buy Scheme (FHTB) has been extended until the end of 2022. We take a look at how the scheme works and provide simple answers to the most frequently-asked questions. Make sure you take full advantage of Forces Help to Buy with this simple guide.

Forces help to buy: how does it work?

If you’re in the UK armed forces, the Forces Help to Buy Scheme (FHTB) is an interest-free loan of up to 50% of your annual salary (up to £25,000) to help pay for a new home or self-build. The scheme is only available if you’re a first-time buyer or intend to sell the property you own to purchase a new home.

For full details on Forces Help to Buy, download the MoD document found here. Chapter 12 of the document covers the scheme fully.

What can Forces Help to Buy be used for?

The Forces Help to Buy loan can be used towards the purchase price of a property or self-build. The loan can be used as a deposit, where the mortgage provider is willing to advance the mortgage using FHTB.

The property being bought must be used as your own residence – or that of your immediate family. You cannot use the scheme to buy another home if you already own, and it cannot be used for buy-to-let purchases. In certain circumstances, it may be used to extend or amend a property you already own.

Forces Help to Buy tax – how does that work?

Your Forces Help to Buy loan is classed as a ‘beneficial loan’ by HMRC. It is therefore liable for tax if it, and all other forms of beneficial loan you receive in that tax year, exceeds £10,000. Other forms of beneficial loan include Advances of Pay and Long Service Advances of Pay (LSAP).

How long does Forces Help to Buy Take?

The Forces Help to Buy loan requires a two-week drawn down once it has been approved. As a general guide, buying a property usually takes a total of around 3 months.

Can I use Forces Help to Buy with Shared Ownership?

Yes, you can use Forces Help to Buy alongside the standard Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes when buying a property. If you and your partner are both armed forces personnel you can also each use a FHTB loan to buy a property together. This would depend on fulfilling the criteria and finding a mortgage provider willing to accept these conditions.

How do I find a Forces Help to Buy mortgage?

Many mortgage providers are providing products that will work with Forces Help to Buy. Check a provider’s website and make sure you understand their policies before applying for your FHTB mortgage. Alternatively, if you use a mortgage broker, make sure they know your intentions around using the FHTB scheme.

Can I let out my Forces Help to Buy property?

Yes, you can let out your Forces Help to Buy property once you have lived in it. However, this will only be allowed if you have be permanently assigned to a new duty station at least 50 miles away from the property.

You will need to seek permission from your CO to let your FHTB property. If approved and you let the property, interest will then be charged at the HMRC official rate.

How do I sell a Forces Help to Buy property?

You can sell a property bought using Forces Help to Buy, but if any amount of the loan is outstanding you must report the sale to DBS Mil Pers, FHTB Section. The FHTB loan must be repaid in full once the property is sold, or any outstanding amount used for another qualifying property.

How do I apply for Forces Help to Buy?

You should apply for Forces Help to Buy via the JPA Self Service User Guide: Applying for Pre-Approval for FHTB. How you repay your FHTB loan will depend on your individual circumstances.

What’s the Forces Help to Buy contact number?

See below for all Forces Help to Buy contact numbers.

Defence Business Services Military Personnel FHTB Section:

  • Telephone internal: 94560 3600, option 4
  • Telephone external: 0141 224 3600

Joint Service Housing Advice Office:

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written by

Jan Moys

A residential property expert with over 15 years’ experience creating content... Read all

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