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The Government’s Rent to Buy scheme is designed to ease the transition from renting to becoming a home owner.

The intention is that first time buyers, who might otherwise struggle to afford a home can pay a lower, subsidised rent on a property for a certain period of time, after which they will have the option of either buying it outright or via shared ownership.

In this blog Karen James, Head of Conveyancing, explains how the scheme works.

How does Rent to Buy work?

A selection of new build properties are available through the scheme, offering starter homes at a rent of 80 percent below the local market average.

The rental period varies, but will be for up to five years. After the end of the lease, there is the option to purchase the home or alternatively enter into a shared ownership agreement with the housing association through which the home is leased.

The advantage of a Rent to Buy or similar scheme is that during the initial renting phase, some money can be saved towards the purchase, as the rental payments are lower than normal.

A disadvantage can be if house prices rise during the rental term, meaning the amount payable after five years will be higher.

Eligibility for Rent to Buy

The scheme is aimed at first time buyers and those who may have previously owned a home but can no longer afford to buy.

Household income needs to be under £60,000 per annum and the applicant will need to have a reasonably good credit rating.

There may also be other criteria imposed by the relevant local authority or housing association who are administering the scheme.

Shared ownership

This option allows a buyer to purchase between 25 and 75 percent of a home and rent the remaining portion from the housing association owner at a reduced rent.

Over time, it is usually possible to increase the amount owned.

Finding a Rent to Buy property

There is a limited supply of homes under the scheme, but to see what’s available in your area, contact your local housing associations who will be able to advise you.

Other options

As well as Rent to Buy, there are also a number of other government schemes in existence to help first time buyers, including shared ownership, council home right to buy and the help to buy programme.

Contact Us

If you are thinking of buying or entering into a shared ownership agreement, speak to one of our expert property team on 0808 1685643 or email us at