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1 February, 2016
From 1 February 2016, conveyancers will be able to make the first bonus applications under the Help To Buy: ISA scheme on behalf of their clients.
Since 1 December 2015 over 200,000 first-time buyers have opened and saved in their Help to Buy: ISA accounts. Those who have saved £1600 will be able to claim the minimum bonus amount of £400 for property transactions that are completing in February. The conveyancer will make the application for the bonus on behalf of the client, which requires a confirmation of the client’s eligibility to receive the bonus and that the property being purchased meets the eligibility criteria. The bonus will be available on home purchases of up to £450,000 in London and up to £250,000 outside London.
Applications for the government bonus can only be made online and will require relevant documentation to be submitted. Prior to submitting the bonus application conveyancers must register for the scheme. This can either be done via existing membership of Lender Exchange or directly with the scheme administrator via the scheme website. Conveyancers may charge the client up to £50 plus VAT to fulfil their role as part of the scheme.
In the initial period of the scheme, all bonus payments will be made 48 hours after the successful registration of an eligible claim. A Help to Buy: ISA holder will need to close their account in order to claim their bonus. When they close their account they will receive a Help to Buy: ISA closing letter which must be submitted to the scheme administrator. If a transaction is completing urgently, the scheme administrator will accept a copy of a bank statement showing their account balance as interim evidence of their savings. However, the final closing letter will need to be submitted to the scheme administrator later when confirming the completion of the property transaction.