The Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) is an excellent scheme and I was delighted when my initial approval for funds came back in a single day.
However, the system starts to struggle when it comes to the personal information note, which is required by a mortgage lender and also a solicitor as proof of deposit.
This is currently posted to the individual’s unit address and, as a result, can take up to ten days to turn around.
I called the Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) to ask for a PDF version to email over to me in order to speed things up but was told that the existing policy is not to send the note in this form.
I asked why this was and they said there was no specified reason.
Can the rule be changed for those applying in future? This would result in a two- or three-day process and keep the momentum high during the early phases of home buying. Major Mark Conlin, RLC.
Robert Piper, of the MoD‘s Accommodation Policy Team, responds: I am pleased that, overall, you’ve had a positive experience using the FHTB scheme.
Your suggestion to send the note electronically rather than by post is a good one, and I’m pleased to tell you that we are looking to make this change to the process. However, this will require an amendment to HR systems that will take time.
In the meantime, FHTB applicants who want their note sent electronically can make a special request by contacting the JPAC’s enquiry centre.
Soldier. (2021) Help to Buy Unhelpfully Slow. Soldier: Magazine of the British Army. February 2021, pp.57.