First-time buyers and tenants receive government support

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to introduce a savings scheme that will reward would-be home buyers with a £50 bonus from the government for every £200 they put towards their first property.

help to buy ISA
Help to Buy ISA
Image credit: Property Division

The Help to Buy ISA, which was announced by Osborne in his final Budget Day speech on Wednesday, will be available through banks and building societies this autumn, with first-time buyers able to make an initial deposit of £1,000 when they open the account.

There will be no minimum monthly deposit, but individual savers will only be able to put away a maximum of £200 a month. The government has also capped the total bonus it pays at £3000.

First-time buyers in London will be allowed to put the bonus towards purchasing homes worth up to £450,000, but the ceiling will be £250,000 for the rest of the country, Osborne announced.

The Help to Buy ISA follows an earlier government announcement that new measures are being introduced in the UK to clamp down on rogue landlords by measures that will ensure tenants know their rights and where to go if they have a problem in their home.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis explained that the changes aim to root out the small minority of rogue operators who shirk their responsibilities and make people’s lives a misery without hampering the efforts of the vast majority of landlords who are diligent and responsible.

“We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector that meets the needs of tenants and landlords well into the future, and encourages investment,” the minister said. “The measures we’ve taken give tenants the information and confidence they need to rent, allows the vast majority of landlords to provide a good service and will enable developers to build specifically for private rent.”

A new guide for tenants has been published so they know what to look out for when renting a home. The guide makes clear the standards the 4.4 million-plus households who rent privately in the UK should expect and the signs of a poorly managed property.

This includes testing that windows and doors can lock properly, how to recognise potential health hazards like damp and mould, and to check the temperature of the property and what heating is available.

The latest announcement comes hot on the heels of the introduction of new measures forcing landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.

From October, anyone renting out a property will be required to install smoke alarms on every floor, and carbon monoxide alarms in high-risk rooms.