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Rent to Buy Eligibility

When you’re ready to buy, we’ll be there to help you through the process. Find out below if you're eligible and how rent to buy works.


Eligibility & Assessment

Applicants for Rent to Buy properties will need to complete a specific application form, this will enable Halton Housing to verify eligibility information.

Each applicant will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be in employment and working towards mortgage eligibility
  • Applicants household income must not exceed £60,000
  • Applicants must not have existing bankruptcies, County Court Judgements (CCJ) or have previous history of rent arrears
  • Applicants must not have more than £3,999 in savings
  • Applicants disposable monthly income to be less than £2,500, with a minimum disposable income of £850 for a couple and £500 for a single person*
  • Applicants should be first time buyers or returning to the property market, with no legal interest in any other property
  • Applicants must not have any unspent criminal convictions or anti-social behaviour orders

*Further calculations will be made if living at home/with parents is stated

Affordability, credit checks and references will be carried out by a third party as part of this assessment.

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Deposit and advance rent payments

Applicants are required to pay before signing up to the property with a deposit equivalent to month’s rent and the first month’s rent in advance.
Deposits will be registered with the Government back Deposit Protection Scheme which ensured that tenants deposit is held securely and independently for the duration of the tenancy. The deposit will be registered within 30 days of receipt and the prescribed information will be provided to the tenant.
On termination of the tenancy, the deposit is repayable to the outgoing tenant, less any costs owed in respect of:

  • Rent owed
  • Damages to the property
  • Costs of any enforcement actions e.g. court applications
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Rent to Buy properties will be allocated to applicants that meet the above criteria and on a first-come, first-served basis, once tenant referencing is completed by a third party referencing company and not at the point the application was submitted to Open Door.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to supply all required documents and provide correct contact details for employers/landlords to the third party. Delays in supplying further information, when asked to do so, may result in the applicant not being allocated a Rent to Buy property.

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Length & type of tenancy

Rent to Buy tenancies will be let as ‘assured-shorthold tenancies’ on an initial 12-month term. The AST will be renewed dependant on zero tenancy breaches relating to rent payments, anti-social behaviour & condition of property.

Due to funding regulations, Halton Housing cannot sanction any outright sale of Rent to Buy homes to customers within the initial five-year letting period.

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Rent to Buy customers are expected to save sufficient amounts towards a deposit to be able to access mortgage finance from private lenders This is typically 10-15% of the purchase price of the property on the open market, however, we advise you speak with an independent mortgage advisor or bank who will be able to provide information on current market conditions and confirm deposit amount required.

We strongly advise that the most effective way of saving for a deposit is through a Lifetime ISA. Customers must seek their own independent financial advice on the best saving options to suits their needs.

Annual checks will be put in place to assess levels of savings. This would normally be undertaken when the fixed term tenancy agreements are being renewed.

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Option appraisals

If the purchase of the property has not been authorised to the Rent to Buy customer, prior to the end of the initial five-year letting period, Halton Housing will conduct an ‘options appraisal’ to determine the future management of the property. This will only take place if there has been no breach of tenancy requiring enforcement action.

In most circumstances it will be expected that the Rent to Buy customer will be in a position to obtain a mortgage or otherwise be able to purchase the property outright at this stage.

If for any reason this purchase is not possible the ‘options appraisal’ will decide on a case by case basis the best option for the continued management of the property. This could include:

  •  A decision to bring the tenancy to an end
  • A continuation of the rent to buy arrangement extending the assured shorthold tenancy for an additional period and subject to review
  • Conversion of the tenancy to affordable rent (for a fixed term period)
  • Conversion to full market rent
  • Conversion to Shared Ownership – this option is available at any stage during the tenancy and not restricted to the final six months of the initial five-year letting period
  • Each case will be appraised on its merits; however, the following factors will be taken into consideration:
  • The conduct of the tenancy (with any tenancy breaches – rent arrears, damage to property, anti-social behaviour, likely to influence a decision to bring the tenancy to an end)
  • Financial circumstances of the Rent to Buy customer including:
  1. Sufficient progress in saving towards a deposit
  2. Having adequate financial capacity to obtain a deposit / mortgage / ability to purchase outright, but not wishing to purchase the property
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Customer Responsibilities

Rent to Buy customers are required to abide by the terms of the tenancy agreement but are also obliged to inform Halton Housing of any change in circumstance that may impact on their ability to proceed with the eventual purchase or ability to meet rental payments, at the earliest opportunity.

Rent to Buy customers are expected to intend to become homeowners at the end of the five-year letting period, they are therefore required to provide regular updates to Halton Housing on their levels of savings.

If the tenancy ends rather than proceeding to purchase of the property, Rent to Buy customers are responsible for the reinstatement of any alterations made during the tenancy with the property inclusive of gardens being put back to the move in inventory condition.

Please note: Rent to Buy homes are unfurnished and flooring is only provided to wet room areas (kitchen and bathrooms). It is the customers responsibility to have flooring fitted to all other areas.

Any white goods that are provided within the property as part of the fixtures and fittings, will be gifted to the first occupiers. Consequently, these will become their responsibility for the maintenance and any subsequent repair.

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Interested in Rent to Buy?


Open Door manage our Rent to Buy homes. Open Door is the home ownership arm of Halton Housing; who build and sell quality homes for shared ownership, rent to buy and outright sale.