What is the rent to buy scheme?

Since the financial crash of 2008, when home ownership in the UK was peaking, the government has been concerned about the subsequent fall in owner-occupier numbers. As that market has contracted the private rental sector has doubled since the turn of the century, now representing around 20% of the households in the UK.

A key part of the government’s response to these circumstances is the Rent to Buy Scheme which was introduced in 2014.


The object of the scheme is to help tenants’ transition from renting their homes to purchasing them. It does this by subsidising a reduced rent on a new build property allowing tenants to save towards a mortgage, potentially over a number of years.

The length of the lease will depend on the provider and may be between six months and five years. During the lease you can offer to purchase the property once you are in a position to do so, but will be required to leave at the end of the rental period if you are not able to get a mortgage. The scheme operates slightly differently in Wales where it is known as Rent to Own.

Finding rent to buy property can be very difficult. Eligibility criteria include being a first-time buyer with an annual household income of less than £60,000. Local authorities or the housing association offering the property may also impose other requirements, which vary from region to region. Priority may be given to existing tenants or individuals on the housing waiting list.

It is important to make sure you have chosen the right kind of property at the outset. It is no good having a reduced rent if the property is not right for you or does not meet your future needs.

Purchasing the property

It is also vital to get your property properly assessed so that you can be sure that you can get a mortgage and move ahead with purchasing the property.

If you are in the south east and looking for a home buyers survey Kent is a good place to begin your search, and you will find help at sites such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Homebuyers-Survey/Home-Buyers-Survey-Kent.

Rent to buy could be a great help getting you on the property ladder, but check the details of the offer and make sure the property is suitable for you.

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