How do I know if I am eligible for help?

This web site should help you find out if you are eligible for homes being built or schemes available in your subregion. If in doubt contact the relevant HomeBuy agent who can tell you if you are eligible.

Some schemes are only available to Key workers. If you are a Key Worker you can fill in the online eligibility check that can be found here. If you find you are eligible you can then complete a full on-line application form.

What is available? Could I buy any type of property?
You have to buy a property suitable for your household’s needs and within a reasonable travelling distance of your work place.
How much will I receive if I buy a home with the help of Open Market HomeBuy?
This will depend upon your household’s income, savings, any property you already own, any financial commitments such as student loans, the mortgage you can get, and the purchase price of the property you are buying. The maximum loan is usually 25% of the purchase price or valuation, except in the case of Advantage where applicants can obtain flexible loan equity shares.
What is an Open Market HomeBuy Equity Loan?

Open Market HomeBuy will help people to buy a home by offering equity loans of around 25% of the value of the property, alongside a conventional mortgage.

The equity loans are partly funded by the Government through a HomeBuy Agent (either Metropolitan Home Ownership or Tower Homes) and partly by the mortgage lender, which will be one of Advantage, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide Building Society or Yorkshire Building Society.

The equity loans are interest free for the first five years, which means your monthly payments are lower. In return, the lender takes a share in any increase in the value of the home if and when you decide to sell your home or repay the equity loan.

You will need to be able to raise 75% of the purchase price of a home which has to be arranged with one of the lenders joint-funding this scheme and is lent on conventional mortgage terms.

Different lenders offer different products and you are advised to discuss which is best for you with an Independent Financial Advisor. After the first five years you could be charged interest on the lender’s equity loan.

This will vary depending on which lender you decide to go with and will be made clear before you proceed. You will never be charged interest or need to make monthly payments on the HomeBuy Agent’s equity loan.

What is New Build HomeBuy/Shared ownership?

This is a part buy, part rent scheme. There are many homes available which are either newly built or refurbished or sometimes second hand homes (resales) You buy the share in the home you can afford (shares range between 25% and 75%) and you pay a low rent on the part you don’t own.

As a Key worker the home should be within a reasonable travelling distance of your place of work.

You can increase your share in the future when you can afford it and you may even buy outright. If you sell the property, the percentage of the sale price you receive is equal to the percentage of the property you own.

If you stop being a key worker, you will no longer be eligible for help. You can ask the HomeBuy agent for more information.

If I already own a home am I still eligible for the scheme?
Yes. If you already own a home and you meet the eligibility criteria, you could receive help to buy a larger home to meet your family needs.
What happens if I need to move to a larger home when I start a family?
If you still meet the eligibility criteria for help as a key worker, you can sell the first home you bought and carry forward the help you received. You can use the proceeds of the sale, plus the help you originally received and any further help you are entitled to (up to an overall maximum of £50,000, or higher in the case of some London school teachers), to buy a bigger home.
What level of rents will be charged for ‘intermediate rent’ homes?
You are likely to pay around 75% to 80% of the local market rent for the type of property you live in. You would have an assured shorthold tenancy while you remain a key worker.
If I am not eligible for help under this scheme, are there any other schemes available that may help me?
Registered social landlords run other low-cost home ownership schemes for people who cannot afford to buy a home. You can get details of registered social landlords running schemes in your area from the Housing Corporation’s local offices. Phone the Housing Corporation on 0207 393 2000 for the phone number of your local office. There is also a small scheme for key workers in the South West. Contact the Housing Corporation local office on 01392 428200 for further information.
Can I buy another property for buy to rent after I have bought on KWL?
No – the home you can afford to buy should be your main residence.
Can I use the cash from my council to buy with a KWL loan sum?
No – assistance through KWL cannot be combined with any other publicly funded home ownership scheme.
Both my partner and I are Key Workers – can we get two KWL loans to buy one property?
No, you cannot combine two separate applications for financial assistance. The joint income will be taken into consideration to assess one loan.
What happens if the house I want to buy costs more than the valuation price? Will I still get financial help?
In this instance, KWL funds can only be used where the grant is calculated on the power of the price and value of the home. The cash shortfall between value and the price will need to be met by the purchaser without resorting to further secured borrowing over and above the mortgage.
I am a teacher in a primary school that does not receive public funds. Am I eligible?
No – one of the conditions of the scheme is that you work in a school that is in receipt of public funds.
Who notifies the RSL/Housing Association if a Key Worker leaves their employment?
The Key Worker must notify the RSL within 7 days in writing at changing jobs, even if they still consider themselves to be a Key Worker.
If I have a career break, will I have to pay the money back?
You can have an agreed career break for up to 3 years. If you choose not to go back after this 3 year period you will cease to be a Key Worker on the last day of the 3 year period. You will have 2 years after this 3 year period, before the repayment terms are enforced.
What happens if I stop being a key worker?
If you leave eligible employment then you will have to repay the assistance you received. From January 2006 purchasers of New Build HomeBuy (formerly known as shared ownership) will generally have five years, instead of two, in which to sell their share in the property they purchased or staircase to full ownership if they leave qualifying key worker employment.
How is the repayment date actually chosen?
Once you leave your key worker profession, you will have to notify Key Worker Living within 7 days of the change of job, the repayment dates will be based on being either two years or five years from the date of your last day of key worker employment depending on the product you have bought a home with.
Can I repay the loan in instalments?
No – you must repay the sum due in one instalment.
What happens if I leave a Key Worker job, serve notice to the HomeBuy Agent, but within 2 years find another job as an eligible Key Worker? Do I still have to repay the loan?
No – if the original Key Worker returns to eligible employment within 2 years, the clawback provision no longer applies. A letter confirming your permanent employment status from your new employer must be provided.
What happens if I buy and then next year the rules change and I am no longer a priority or eligible for KWL? Will I have to pay all the cash back?
No – eligibility status will be judged against the criteria at the time you were given financial help.
What amount do I have to pay back if I leave my Key Worker profession?
The amount repayable will be the proportion of the loan advance represented at the time. So if that was 25% – when you came to sell you will be expected to repay 25% of the valuation at the time of final disposal.
Are Nursery Nurses eligible for assistance under the KWL scheme?
Yes, the rules have changed recently to include qualified Nursery nurses.
What is meant by the claw back period?
This is the amount of time you have between leaving an eligible key worker profession and repaying equity back to Key Worker Living.
I understand that the claw back period has changed – if so how?
The period has been extended to 5 years on new build homes to give those leaving key worker professions time to be able establish a new career before either buying out or paying off the Key Worker Living equity. On homes bought with an Open Market HomeBuy loan, the clawback period is 2 years.
I am a Key Worker on a temporary contract – am I eligible for assistance?
Yes, you will be eligible for a Key Worker Living help, check with your HomeBuy agent for details.
Why are Doctors/ Dentists no longer eligible for assistance under the KWL scheme?
Doctors and Dentists enjoy a higher income than many classified key workers, funds are being more accurately matched to need.
What are the major difference between Shared Ownership and New Build HomeBuy?
Again the products are very similar, as both are a means of part-buying, part-renting a home. One key difference is a cap on the rent charged by the housing provider which will ensure the schemes are as affordable as possible.
I am a key worker without indefinite leave to remain within the UK – what assistance am I eligible for?
You can apply for intermediate rent homes which offer good quality accommodation at 80% or less of the market rent. You may be eligible for HomeBuy products. Applicants without indefinite leave to remain, interested in purchasing a home, must be able demonstrate that they are able to raise a mortgage with an acceptable lender and can demonstrate that they can afford and sustain home ownership in the longer term. All cases will be assessed based on their individual circumstances.
A Charter for housing association applicants and residents. What is the Charter For?
The Charter is important. You can use the Charter to find out what you can expect, and check that you are getting the service you should be getting from your housing association. It also tells you what to do if you think your housing association is not honouring the Charter.