Help to Buy Wales controversial home improvement

Wed, 18 Mar 2015

Help to Buy Wales controversial home improvement
People who have bought their home through the Help to Buy Wales scheme are facing a "significant bill" for making their homes habitable, because of some unclear rules on the deal.

Last month Plaid Cymru made objections to the fact that people who had managed to buy a home through Help to Buy were unable to make large home improvements to their homes.

This restriction is to make sure that should the homeowner will not have to pay off a significantly higher amount for the equity loan the government lent to them, they would likely have to pay back a larger amount as the value of their homes would have increased from the home improvements.

This ban hasn't covered all forms of home improvement, however, and now people who have done work to make their homes more habitable are facing a "tax" for doing so.

The BBC have reported on a man from Pontypridd who borrowed £37,000 from the government to buy his home. He then had a new floor laid down to cover bare concrete.

This boosted the amount that he would have to pay back for the equity loan, because it boosted the value of his home.

"I think there'll be a great number of families along the line who'll get a significant bill from this without necessarily signing up to that in the first place," the borrower said.

According to a spokesperson for the Welsh government, "small DIY jobs to make [homebuyers'] homes more comfortable" are allowed, but not "significant home improvements," in order "to protect customers from making investments which would increase the value of their property and, as a result, also increase their debt to the Welsh government.

If you are on the scheme, or thinking about purchasing a Help to Buy home, make sure you understand the small print and what you will owe back if you make improvements, especially if you are looking to buy a home that will require some improvements to make it habitable.
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