Farewell Help to Buy
The Help to Buy scheme was introduced in 2013 to provide equity loans towards the cost of buying a new-build home, and helped over 500,000 first-time buyers buy a property. Although it has helped many, the Government has no plans to extend the scheme and time is running out for those in the middle of transactions and building.
Conveyancers, solicitors, estate agents and homebuilders dealing with Help to Buy matters need to add these dates to their calendars: 17th and 31st March 2023, and here’s why:
Friday 17th March 2023
Homebuilders must have finished building homes, using Help to Buy, on or before 17th March so that they are ready to be lived in. This is called Practical Completion, and it is when your home is built and has received a new-home warranty. After this date, the property will not be able to use Help to Buy.
Friday 31st March 2023
The Help to Buy scheme ends on this date. Home buyers need to have legally completed their purchase using the Help to Buy: Equity Loan by this date.
Funding for Help to Buy is unavailable after 31st March 2023 under any circumstances so purchasers that legally complete after this date will not qualify for a Help to Buy: Equity Loan.
If you are currently having a house built, or are in the middle of trying to complete your conveyancing, now is the time to check with your home builder, conveyancer and estate agent that these dates will be met so you still qualify for the scheme.
For more information regarding Help to Buy closing, please follow this link to go to The Government’s website.
Property Questions: What are deeds?
Essentially, Deeds are the trail of legal documents that prove or record the ownership of a property. Since 1990, on the sale of a property, it has been mandatory to register the ownership at Land Registry. When Land Registry complete the registration process, they provide an Official Copy of the Registry and an Official Copy of the Title Plan together known as the Official Copies of Title. These were historically on paper but are now mostly digital and these are what are considered to be the “Deeds”. However, there are additional documents that make up the “Deeds Pack” or “Title Deeds” that will be required when you come to sell the property. The Deeds Pack will vary depending on the type of property.
For Freehold properties, the Land Registry Official Copies of Title are usually the only relevant documents to retain and these are electronic so can be readily obtained from Land Registry.
Leasehold properties will require the addition of the original signed and dated Lease to be retained as Deeds, although an Official Copy of the Lease is also held digitally by Land Registry alongside the Register and Plan. There may also be further documents to add to the Deeds such as an original Share Certificate or an original Membership Certificate, if relevant. For new build Leasehold Properties, you should also retain your 10-year NHBC Certificate (or equivalent such as LABC or Premier Guarantee) along with the Building Regulations Completion Certificate.
Other general documents to keep with the Deeds include any indemnity policy or Declaration of Trust.
In preparing for the sale of a property, the Deeds Pack will be required alongside documents such as the Energy Performance Certificate, Electric and Gas Safety Certificates, FENSA certificates, building regulations and planning permissions for any alterations, party wall notices, listed building documents, guarantees/warranties for a new boiler/new roof/damp proofing, water bill, service charge and ground rent statements, mortgage details etc, so it may be advisable to retain these documents and keep them up to date as and when they expire. Having these documents to hand will save delays when it comes to selling your property.
It is also worth noting that if you have a mortgage then your Title Deeds may be kept by the Lender, although this is increasingly rare for UK Banks, but not so for overseas Lenders.
To find out more, click here to speak to Gill Talbot.
To find out more about your property questions, click here to read another article in the series.