Housing Minister Lord Morrow MLA announced ‘Rent to Own’, Northern Ireland’s new housing initiative to help renters gain a foothold on the property ladder.
Rent To Own allows customers to rent the new home of their choice home for a period of three years. At the end of the rental period they have the option to purchase their home either through Co-Ownership or through a traditional mortgage. Rent to Own is available to those on low incomes who are not yet in a position to buy the home but aspire to do so.
Launching the new product at one of the homes available under the scheme at Station Park in Drumgoon, near Maguiresbridge, Minister Morrow said: “It gives me great pleasure to launch this innovative new product which will allow more people who have difficulty in getting the mortgage they need to take their first step towards home ownership.”
The Department for Social Development has invested £12.5 million to fund the purchase of more than 100 new homes throughout Northern Ireland and increase the supply of affordable homes. Rent to Own could provide one additional home for every 3 new build properties purchased through Co-Ownership in 2016/17. The Minister continued: “Rent to Own is a new product especially for Northern Ireland and available here now for the first time. It is the only product which assists those who are not yet ready to purchase a home. It offers security of tenure at a fair price in decent accommodation. The value built into Rent to Own comes at the end of the rental period, when tenants will receive a rent rebate of 25% towards a mortgage deposit on their property.
He concluded: “I am delighted that the Department has been able to bring forward a product which will increase the availability of affordable homes, improve housing supply and offer an alternative route to home ownership for those on low incomes.”
Sid McDowell, Chair of Co-Ownership Housing which developed the product, said: “Rent to Own is the brainchild of Co-Ownership Housing, where we have a long and successful history of working within the private housing market but with a social purpose. This is a new way for us to do this and we are delighted to offer an exciting product which is very distinct from our co-ownership model. It will help renters to get to where they want to be – the home owners of the future.”
Alan Crowe, a Director of OwnCo, explains: “Rent to Own offers tenants a better option than simply renting, with no prospect of a return. It starts with a commitment to a 3-year payment plan with a down payment of £2,500 and an inbuilt 25% rebate on rent paid. Together they build up a lump sum to be used towards purchasing the property.”