The new Help to Buy scheme is set to begin in 2021 and will end in 2023 and in preparation for an expected demand in enquiries, Homes England have released guidance for developer participation.
With a new scheme, comes new legal documentation for developers to enter into with Homes England. So what can developers expect from the new scheme?
Home Builders Federation (HBF) Star Rating System
Developers that are members of HBF's Star Rating Scheme are required to clearly communicate their HBF Star Rating on all Help to Buy related communications and advertisements of an Eligible Dwelling.
Builders are also expected to notify Homes England of any deterioration in their HBF Star Rating and cooperate promptly with any requirements communicated to the Developer by Homes England in order to address the causes.
New Homes Ombudsman (NHO)
When the NHO is established, developers are required to be subject to the adjudication it provides and must co-operate and comply with any investigations and consequent findings imposed upon the developer.
Developers must ensure that all Eligible Purchasers are given the opportunity to view the actual Eligible Dwelling that they are purchasing, on or after Practical Completion (with their own surveyor if desired) and prior to legal completion of their purchase.
Consumer Code for Home Builders
Developers must comply with the Consumer Code for Home Builders in respect of each Eligible Dwelling.
Signing the Building a Safer Future Charter
Any developers intending to develop Eligible Dwellings forming part of a building above either 18 metres or 6 floors in height, (whichever is the lower) are required to become a registered signatory to the Building a Safer Future Charter prior to commencing development.
Advertising Help to Buy
The rules surrounding advertising remain unchanged with Homes England requiring that developers do not promote a "Help to Buy purchase price" as this is considered to be misleading to consumers.
Freehold properties only
Leasehold houses will not qualify for the new programme unless they are constructed on land owned by and registered to the National Trust or Crown Estate. In this event, the house would have to be disposed of to the developer on a long leasehold basis from either the Crown Estate or the National Trust.
Developers cannot gift deposits
Eligible Purchasers must always contribute a minimum 5% cash deposit of the full purchase price to exchange contracts which can in no way be gifted as an incentive by the developer.
Reservation Fee for an Eligible Dwelling
This must not exceed £500 and is refundable by the developer if either the purchaser or the developer withdraws from the purchase (for any reason) prior to exchange of contracts.