Leaving the Armed Forces

Surrey Heath Borough Council is proud of its historic connections with the Armed Forces and, to strengthen the links between civilian and forces communities, has signed a Community Covenant. The Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between the civilian community and its local armed forces community. It is intended to complement at a local level the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the government and the armed forces.

As part of our work to assist families and individuals leaving the Forces these pages outline the housing options available and gives you details of where you can go for help and advice.

While some of the advice about your housing options is general many of the details about the help available is specific to Surrey Heath. If you want more detailed advice about how to access housing in other areas your starting point should be the website of that Council. To find out who provides housing and advice in the area you would like to live in go to: www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

Getting Advice

The simple advice is that the longer you have to plan for your housing the greater the options you will have. As a Council we can respond to those emergency housing situations that arise but for many this will mean temporary housing or even bed and breakfast accommodation. There is also not a duty on the Council to provide everyone with emergency accommodation, so single people and couples without children or some additional health or support need may not be entitled to any housing even if they are facing homelessness.

Where you want to live and your housing options will be tied up with lots of other considerations and decisions: your health, your employment and other plans. While these pages look specifically at housing issues we have also included a 'who can help?' section which will signpost you to organisations that provide advice on a range of subjects and who can help and support you when you are leaving the Forces.

Housing Options

We do not give advice on buying your own home. Finding and paying for the home of your dreams isn't easy for anybody and it can be even harder for Service personnel. You'll need somewhere to live when you leave the forces but waiting until then to look around for a home and mortgage may not be the easiest thing to do.

SIIAP (the Services Insurance & Investment Advisory Panel) is an advisory panel of regulated insurance and independent investment advisers. They all specialise in offering financial services to members of HM Forces, including mortgages, and have a greater understanding of the issues faced by Forces personnel than you may find on the high street.

They will also be able to advise you on Government schemes to access home ownership such as the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee.

The Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme can help you buy a newly built home or an existing property with a deposit of as little as 5%.

The scheme works by offering your mortgage lender the option to purchase a guarantee on your mortgages where you have a deposit of between 5% and 20%. To qualify for this scheme you must pass lender affordability checks and have no history of difficulties in meeting debt payments.

In order for your mortgage to be eligible for the mortgage guarantee scheme:

  • It must be a residential mortgage, so you will be planning to live in your house and not rent it out;
  • The property you want to buy must be in the UK and the purchase value must be £600,000 or less;
  • The mortgage must be taken out on a repayment basis, rather than interest-only;
  • The mortgage must be to buy your only property, so you cannot have an interest in any property, anywhere in the world; and,
  • The mortgage cannot be for a shared equity or shared ownership purchase

You can apply for a mortgage guarantee through a participating mortgage provider. The following lenders are currently participating in the scheme: the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Halifax, NatWest and the Bank of Scotland.