Help-to-Buy ISAs and IIP beneficiaries

The Help-to-Buy ISA rules state that a person is eligible to open a Help-to-Buy ISA if they (amongst other criteria) are not, and have never been, a “Residential Property Owner”.

The rules then go on to define a Residential Property Owner as: “…an individual who owns an interest in land…which was acquired by the individual…or entitles the individual to possession or occupation of that land”.

This is replicated in the First Time Buyer declaration: “I…never have owned any interest in land…which entitles me to possess or occupy that land.”

The consolidated ISA regulations state that a “residential property owner means an individual who owns…an interest in residential property” and that “residential property means a legal interest in land which comprises a building that is used or suitable for use as a dwelling”

Is an IIP beneficiary under a trust that owns a residential property precluded from opening a Help-to-Buy ISA? I would have said not given that the IIP would usually only be a right to receive all or a portion of the income arising against the trust property as opposed to a right to occupy/possess.

Comments please.

Paul Storrie
Storrie & Company