MHCLG consultation on First Homes – Law Society response

Our Conveyancing and Land Law and Planning and Environmental Law committees have responded to a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consultation on the First Homes scheme.

The proposals

The First Homes scheme would introduce a 30% minimum discount for those who wish to buy a home in their local area but cannot afford to buy a property on the open market.

The consultation covered several design and delivery aspects, including:

  • eligibility
  • oversight of the scheme
  • restrictive covenants and letting restrictions
  • whether the homes should be delivered through planning or legislation

Our view

We have concerns that, as with Help to Buy, property practitioners could be subjected to new and unprecedented obligations to monitor and enforce the scheme.

However, we think the inclusion of a mortgagee protection clause is a positive step for ensuring mortgagee co-operation with the scheme.

From a planning perspective, we want to make sure that this scheme does not come at the expense of other schemes that could be more affordable for more people.

Our other concern is around the use of developer contributions. Tying the provision up within section 106 obligations is as easy as it is with other affordable housing tenures, although an issue will be the control the councils have on the identification of qualifying purchasers.

What this means for solicitors

The proposals are likely to impact on property practitioners who carry out conveyancing and planning law work.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 1 May 2020 and the government is analysing the feedback.

We’ll update this page once we have more information.

Read the consultation in full