Forces Help to Buy Scheme

This  scheme, designed to help you get on the property ladder, launched on 1 April 2014 with the aim of running for three years, but due to it's popularity it has now been extended till 2018. During this time the Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) scheme will be frozen. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

We set out the basics here but for more detailed information see JSP 464.

What is the FHTB Scheme?

  • You will be able to borrow up to 50% of your salary and any recruitment and retention pay (formerly Specialist Pay) up to a maximum of £25,000.
  • The FHTB scheme is an interest free advance of salary and is to be repaid over ten years.
  • It is available to Regular personnel to buy their first home or move to a new location (more than 50 miles from their current property), although there may be some exceptions to this.
  • Most mainstream mortgage providers accept FHTB, but you should first check with your proposed lender before progressing any formal mortgage application.
  • Approval for FHTB is no guarantee that a mortgage lender will advance a mortgage.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible personnel must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be in Regular service.
  • Those serving in the Naval Service must have been accepted onto trained strength, ie in a complement billet.
  • Army and RAF personnel must have completed two years service from the date of enlistment and be on the trained strength i.e. completed Phase 2 training.
  • Have at least six months left to serve at the time of application
  • In the last twelve months, not have owned a property within 50 miles of the proposed house purchase (although there may be some exceptions to this).

How to apply

  • To apply for FHTB you must complete the application form on JPA.
  • If accepted, you can be given a Personal Information Note by the MoD as evidence of your FHTB advance before seeking a mortgage offer.
  • Payment of the FHTB amount is made by BACS direct to your legal representative, who must apply for the funds at least 10 working days before the property completion date.

What happens to the LSAP scheme?

During the FHTB pilot the LSAP scheme will be frozen. If you have LSAP you will continue to make your normal monthly payments but you can apply to extend your loan to the FHTB limit if you are moving home and are eligible under the new rules. In these circumstances your LSAP loan amount will be consolidated into one arrangement under the FHTB scheme.

Can I still apply for Service accommodation?

If you buy a property using funds from the FHTB scheme and the property is within 50 miles of your current assignment location then you will not be eligible for either SFA or SLA during your current assignment. If you already know your next assignment (starting within 6 months) and you choose to buy a home within 50 miles of there, you will also not be eligible for either SFA or SLA there.

You may choose to buy a property more than 50 miles from your current assignment location (or next location, if you already know what it is and it starts within 6 months). In this case your family will have to live in that property in the first instance – you will be eligible to use SLA (or SSSA) but not SFA for that assignment.

After buying your property, if your next assignment is more than 50 miles from your purchased home, your entitlement to SLA and SFA is reinstated.

If any subsequent assignment takes you to within 50 miles of the location of your purchased property your entitlement to SLA and SFA will be relinquished and you will be required to live in your own property.

Where to get more information

For more information on the FHTB scheme:

For more information on your housing options contact the Joint Service Housing Advice Office or the Homes and Communities Agency.

If an FHTB is not for you, then see the other options available in Affordable housing schemes.

Last reviewed: 17/04/2018