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Rent To Home initiative aims to woo local first time buyers

A unique system of returning rent to tenants to allow them to save for a deposit on a property has been resuscitated by a building society.

The Rent To Home scheme was launched in 2019 by the Cambridge Building Society as a one-of-a-kind initiative that gives local first-time buyers 70 per cent of their rent back after three years to use as a deposit to buy a property, which conventional renting might otherwise prevent them saving for. 

The system is based on people renting properties owned by the building society itself.


The Cambridge’s first properties in the scheme were flats it already owned which were let out in 2019 and 2020. Then last year two family houses were added to the portfolio. The first two Rent to Home tenants have already received their 70 per cent back and moved into their own homes in 2022.

Now the society has opened applications for its latest property, a two storey apartment in the centre of Ely, with views of the famous cathedral.

The initiative is aimed at young people and those who can afford their monthly rent but due to the higher cost of living find it challenging to save enough for a deposit.

Applications close on Thursday March 7 and a ballot will be drawn by Friday March 22: the successful ballot winner has up to three months to move in following the draw.

Every successful ballot winner has received a lump sum at the end of their three-year tenancy and used this as a deposit on a property they've purchased with a mortgage from The Cambridge. 

Carole Charter, chief commercial officer at the society, says: We take our commitment to the community very seriously and we know that without our help many local people, like our previous winners, would struggle to have a home to call their own. Saving for a deposit of thousands of pounds is by no means easy, and for that reason, we see it as our duty as a community driven organisation to make it easier for people who are in a position, and eager, to take that first step on the property ladder.”

The ballot winner will live in the Ely property for a maximum of three years. After this term and upon securing a mortgage on their first property, The Cambridge will give them back up to 70 per cent of the money they have paid towards their rent to use as a deposit on their new home.

The property is rented at a market rate of £1,200 for a maximum period of three years, after which the tenant will receive up to 70 per cent (approximately £30,240) of the rent back as a home-buying deposit when they take a mortgage through The Cambridge.


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