Rent to buy properties near me

Rent to Buy, also known as Rent to Own, is an innovative housing scheme that allows prospective homeowners to rent a property with the option to buy it later. This scheme is designed to help those who may struggle to save for a deposit while paying rent, giving them the opportunity to gradually transition from renting to owning. This comprehensive guide explores the concept of Rent to Buy, its benefits and drawbacks, how to find Rent to Buy properties in the UK, and practical steps to take advantage of this scheme.

Understanding Rent to Buy

What is Rent to Buy?

Rent to Buy is a government-backed scheme aimed at helping renters become homeowners. The scheme allows tenants to rent a newly built property at a reduced rent, typically 20% below market rate, for a set period, usually five years. During this period, tenants can save for a deposit to purchase the property. At the end of the rental period, tenants have the option to buy the property outright or through a shared ownership arrangement.

How Does Rent to Buy Work?

  1. Reduced Rent: Tenants pay a reduced rent, making it easier to save for a deposit.
  2. Fixed Period: The reduced rent period usually lasts for five years.
  3. Option to Buy: At the end of the rental period, tenants have the option to buy the property outright or enter into a shared ownership agreement.
  4. Saving for a Deposit: The reduced rent provides tenants with an opportunity to save for a deposit during the rental period.

Benefits of Rent to Buy

For Tenants

  1. Affordable Renting: Reduced rent makes it easier to save for a deposit.
  2. Future Homeownership: Provides a clear pathway to owning a home.
  3. Stability: Tenants can stay in the same property without the uncertainty of moving.
  4. Time to Save: Allows tenants to save over several years, making it easier to gather a deposit.

For Developers

  1. Guaranteed Rental Income: Developers receive rent while waiting for the property to be sold.
  2. Attractive to Buyers: Helps attract renters who are serious about buying, leading to potential sales.

Drawbacks of Rent to Buy

For Tenants

  1. Uncertainty: No guarantee that the tenant will be able to buy the property at the end of the rental period.
  2. Limited Availability: Rent to Buy properties are not as widely available as other rental or purchase options.
  3. Price Changes: Property prices may increase, making it harder to buy the property later.

For Developers

  1. Delayed Sales: Developers must wait for the rental period to end before selling the property.
  2. Maintenance Costs: Responsibility for property maintenance remains with the developer during the rental period.

Eligibility for Rent to Buy

Criteria for Tenants

  1. Income Limits: Typically, household income must be below a certain threshold, often around £60,000 per year.
  2. Employment Status: Tenants usually need to be in full-time employment.
  3. First-Time Buyers: Priority is often given to first-time buyers or those who are unable to buy without assistance.
  4. Credit History: A good credit history is essential to qualify for a mortgage when the time comes to buy the property.

Finding Rent to Buy Properties

Online Property Portals

  1. Rightmove: Search for Rent to Buy properties using filters and keywords.
  2. Zoopla: Lists Rent to Buy properties with detailed descriptions and contact information.
  3. OnTheMarket: Another property portal that can help locate Rent to Buy schemes.

Housing Associations and Local Councils

  1. Housing Associations: Many Rent to Buy properties are managed by housing associations. Contact local housing associations to inquire about available schemes.
  2. Local Councils: Councils often have information on Rent to Buy schemes in their area. Visit the council’s website or contact them directly for details.

Government Schemes

  1. Help to Buy: The Help to Buy website lists Rent to Buy properties and provides information on eligibility and how to apply.
  2. Homes England: The government’s housing agency provides information and support for finding and applying for Rent to Buy properties.

Steps to Apply for Rent to Buy

Step 1: Research and Identify Properties

Start by researching available Rent to Buy properties in your area. Use online property portals, contact housing associations, and check with local councils to compile a list of potential properties.

Step 2: Check Eligibility

Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for Rent to Buy schemes. This includes income limits, employment status, and being a first-time buyer or someone who cannot afford to buy without assistance.

Step 3: Register Interest

Register your interest with the housing association or developer managing the property. This usually involves completing an application form and providing proof of income, employment, and other relevant details.

Step 4: Attend Viewings

Arrange to view the properties you are interested in. This is your opportunity to inspect the property, ask questions, and get a feel for whether it is the right fit for you.

Step 5: Apply for the Property

Submit a formal application for the property. This may involve an interview or assessment process to determine your suitability for the scheme.

Step 6: Secure a Tenancy

If your application is successful, you will be offered a tenancy agreement. Review the terms carefully, including the rent amount, length of the tenancy, and the option to buy at the end of the period.

Step 7: Save for a Deposit

During the reduced rent period, focus on saving for a deposit. Create a savings plan and stick to it to ensure you have enough saved by the end of the rental period.

Step 8: Buy the Property

At the end of the rental period, you will have the option to buy the property. This may involve securing a mortgage, so ensure your credit history is in good shape and you have all the necessary documentation ready.

Financial Considerations

Saving for a Deposit

  1. Budgeting: Create a budget to track your income and expenses, and identify areas where you can save.
  2. Savings Accounts: Use high-interest savings accounts or ISAs to maximize your savings.
  3. Cutting Costs: Reduce unnecessary expenses to increase your savings.

Mortgage Preparation

  1. Credit Score: Maintain a good credit score by paying bills on time and managing debt responsibly.
  2. Mortgage Advice: Seek advice from mortgage brokers to understand your options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.
  3. Documentation: Keep all necessary documents, such as proof of income and bank statements, organized and ready for your mortgage application.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: First-Time Buyer in London

Background: Sarah, a teacher in London, struggles to save for a deposit while paying high rent. She learns about a Rent to Buy scheme through her local council.

Action: Sarah registers her interest, checks her eligibility, and applies for a Rent to Buy property managed by a housing association. She secures a tenancy and pays reduced rent for five years.

Outcome: During the reduced rent period, Sarah saves enough for a deposit. At the end of the period, she secures a mortgage and buys the property, achieving her goal of homeownership.

Case Study 2: Young Professional in Manchester

Background: James, a young professional in Manchester, wants to buy a home but has limited savings. He discovers a Rent to Buy property through an online property portal.

Action: James attends viewings, applies for the property, and is accepted into the scheme. He signs a tenancy agreement and starts saving for a deposit while paying reduced rent.

Outcome: After five years, James has saved enough for a deposit. He successfully applies for a mortgage and purchases the property, transitioning from renting to owning.

Rent to Buy vs. Other Schemes

Help to Buy Equity Loan

  • Overview: Provides an equity loan to help with the purchase of a new-build property.
  • Comparison: Unlike Rent to Buy, the Help to Buy Equity Loan requires an immediate purchase rather than a rental period. It can be more suitable for those with some savings but not enough for a full deposit.

Shared Ownership

  • Overview: Allows buyers to purchase a share of the property (25%-75%) and pay rent on the remaining share.
  • Comparison: Shared Ownership requires a partial purchase upfront, whereas Rent to Buy provides a rental period before buying. Rent to Buy can be more accessible for those needing time to save.

Right to Buy

  • Overview: Available to council tenants, allowing them to buy their home at a discount.
  • Comparison: Right to Buy is limited to council tenants, while Rent to Buy is available to a broader range of renters. Right to Buy offers significant discounts but is not applicable to private rental properties.

Practical Tips for Tenants

  1. Start Early: Begin saving and researching Rent to Buy options as early as possible.
  2. Stay Informed: Keep up to date with changes in government schemes and housing market trends.
  3. Seek Advice: Use resources like Citizens Advice and housing advisors to get tailored guidance.
  4. Plan for the Future: Consider your long-term goals and how Rent to Buy fits into your overall financial plan.
  5. Maintain Flexibility: Be open to different properties and locations to increase your chances of finding a suitable Rent to Buy home.


Rent to Buy offers a valuable opportunity for renters to transition to homeownership by providing reduced rent and a clear pathway to buying a property. While the scheme has its challenges, such as limited availability and potential uncertainty, it can be a practical solution for those struggling to save for a deposit while renting.

By understanding the Rent to Buy process, checking eligibility, and following practical steps to apply, tenants can take advantage of this scheme to achieve their homeownership goals. Combining Rent to Buy with careful financial planning and seeking professional advice can significantly increase the chances of success.


  1. Citizens Advice: Provides free, confidential advice on housing and other issues.
  2. Government Housing Schemes: Visit the Help to Buy and Homes England websites for information on Rent to Buy and other government-backed schemes.
  3. Housing Associations: Contact local housing associations for details on available Rent to Buy properties.
  4. Property Portals: Use websites like Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket to search for Rent to Buy properties in your area.

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