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Thread: Help to Buy ISA Bonus Claim Rejected!

  1. #1

    Help to Buy ISA Bonus Claim Rejected!

    read though the whole thread, didn't see anything about this hence the post.

    Tried claiming the bonus for HISA today.

    Got a call from the administrator UKAR Corporate Services Limited stating that I am not eligible on the following basis:-

    1. The conveyancer i used is not on the panel
    2. The conveyancer has been contacted and are unable to provide all the required documentation in time in order to be on the panel (completion date on Friday).
    3. State that as the completion date is Friday (2 days from now - process started Monday), and the conveyancer is unable to provide the documentation to be on the panel, my claim is rejected.

    Alternatives provided by the administrator:-
    1. Engage an alternate conveyancer
    2. contact my conveyancer to obtain details of other conveyancers

    Read through the whole HISA Scheme Rules https:// www. helptobuy. gov. uk/documents/2015/12/scheme-rules.pdf

    The Scheme Rules does not state that the bonus must be claimed before the completion date of the purchase (i am human so anyone reading the scheme rules spotted anything to the contrary, happy to be corrected).

    So in this instance, is it prudent to escalate this to dispute?

    The lady on the phone stated that she will email me more information - but 3 hours has passed and not received anything.....

  2. #2
    The cash can only be paid into your client money account with the conveyancer and per 7.6(A)(ii) of the rules you linked, he must be able to declare at the time of the payment request that you are still eligible [e.g., have never owned any property] and per 7.6(A)(v)(a) of the rules, the entire amount of the bonus including any accrued interest will be applied towards the acquisition of the named property.

    It would seem from this that there is no opportunity for you to go and buy the property this week and get the cash later, because in that case you would be getting the cash when not eligible (you already own a property by that point), and you would not be having the entire amount of the bonus applied towards the acquisition of the property (because actually you already acquired the property and could afford to pay for it yourself, and now you just want free money).

    Caveat, I'm only reading this on a smartphone so maybe I have missed other clauses... but your contention doesn't seem right that you are saying "there's nothing to stop it being paid after completion", when the money explicitly has to be *applied towards* completion.

    The solicitors will not complete if you don't have ALL the money necessary. So after completion, it is already complete, with all money necessary, and it is not possible to apply the money towards completing. The house is yours.

    The obvious thing to do, if the amount of the bonus is significant, is to defer completion until either the conveyancer is approved (he probably wants to do that anyway in the long term), or a new conveyancer is found. Presumably this is not an expense or hassle you want - as it's not like you had 12k in the account waiting for a 3k bonus. The amount is relatively tiny and presumably the conveyancer would charge you 50 +VAT for the extra work in submitting a claim anyway, compared to a straightforward completion which didn't need it.

    In terms of escalation you should only complain to UKAR if they have failed in their administration; otherwise you complain to your lender or your conveyancer. If the conveyancer misled you that he was in a position to claim your bonus by Friday, but had never actually done one and didn't know how the process works, it seems to be his fault, unless it's your fault for not telling him until the last minute that you'd need him to be in a position to do a claim for you.

  3. #3
    This is of no help to you, but thanks for bringing it up. I'm currently looking to buy a house and had no idea your conveyancer had to be on this panel to claim the HTB bonus - so I've just emailed them to ask. It sounds like a ludicrous state of affairs but, as per bowlhead, I can't see that anyone's actually done anything wrong.

  4. #4
    That’s the nature of buying a home – everyone takes their cut.

    I would definitely suggest you escalate this – maybe it’s a case that the media or Martin on this site. You may be the first – but you probably won’t be the last

    You are entitled to the bonus but due to government bureaucratic rules you cannot claim it. Why should you suffer because of your choice of conveyancer?

  5. #5
    I just emailed the conveyancer I was intending to use, and the reply I got back was "We're not on the UKAR panel, and if you are using Help to Buy I am afraid our fees will be significantly more". They thought I was talking about one of those shared equity schemes and clearly had no idea about help to buy ISAs. (Conveyancing fees for claiming the H2BISA bonus are capped at 50 + VAT, as it happens.)

    I have a feeling this might be a popular topic in the Saturday paper "troubleshooting" columns over the coming months. Clearly Help to Buy ISAs are not widely understood by conveyancers - both of ours didn't know what was involved. And if there are lots of conveyancers who don't know about the scheme and don't try to register until the last minute, the OP won't be the last person to get in this situation.

    (I contacted my "second choice" conveyancer and she confirmed they are already on the panel but it is still a "source of delay". If my first choice conveyancer still refuses to arrange this then clearly that is going to be a dealbreaker. I'm not going to pay an extra 600 or more - depending on how long this takes - for their not being arsed to register with UKAR.)

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