Rent to Buy

What is Rent To Buy?

Rent to Buy allows you to rent a home at a minimum of 20% below the market rent for at least 5 years. This allows you to save for a deposit to put towards your first home.

Rent to Buy is available in England, apart from London. There are different rules for Rent to Buy in Wales, Northern Ireland and schemes which operate in Scotland.

Who can apply?

You can apply for a Rent to Buy home if:

  • you’re a working household
  • when you start to rent, you intend to buy your own home after 5 years
  • you’re a first-time buyer and have never owned a home. Unless you’re looking to return to home ownership following a relationship breakdown.

If your Rent to Buy home is on a rural exception site, you’ll be given priority if:

  • you‘re a current resident
  • have an existing family or employment connection.

A rural exception allows a local planning authority to agree for affordable housing, for rent or buy, to be built on a site that would not normally be used for housing.

If you live in London, you’ll need to visit the Mayor of London’s first steps to home ownership website Homes for Londoners to find out more.

How it works

Rent to Buy is a stepping stone into home ownership. You’ll have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) on a fixed term for up to 2 years. 

The rent you pay will be an Intermediate Rent. This means you’ll pay an amount which is at least 20% below the current market rent, if you were to rent from a private landlord, for the area and type of home.

You will pay the agreed rent for a minimum of 5 years. During this time, you must save for the deposit you will put towards buying your home.

After the first 5 years of renting, your landlord will have the following options:

  1. If you want to buy the home but need more time to save for the deposit, your landlord can agree to extend your rental agreement, and you can continue on an Intermediate Rent basis.
  2. If your landlord wishes to sell the home, they must give you the right of first refusal. You can buy the home for the market value, using your deposit and by arranging a mortgage.
  3. Your landlord can keep and convert the home into rented housing on either an affordable or market rent basis. If your landlord agrees, you can continue to rent the home but not using Rent to Buy.

You may also have the option to buy the property within 5 years on a Shared Ownership basis. You will need to agree this with your landlord. If this is offered, you will need to meet the Shared Ownership eligibility, affordability and sustainability requirements.

How to apply

You can find homes available through Rent to Buy on our property search.

If you’re interested in a Rent to Buy home, you’ll need to contact the landlord directly.