Rent to Own Applicant Criteria

Criteria as at 1st April 2023

Before you apply it’s important that you check out our criteria and make sure that you meet it. Once you apply, the first stage of your application fee, £100, will be charged and is non-refundable.

AgeYou must be over 18 to apply.
Residency statusYou must live in the UK. You may be asked to provide evidence that you have adequate right to reside in Northern Ireland. You have to live in the property as your only residence.
HomeownerYou can’t apply for Rent to Own if you currently own property which includes owning property or land, including commercial, or being named on any property in Northern Ireland or elsewhere.

We may consider previous co-owners if you meet our qualifying criteria. We can’t consider previous Rent to Own tenants.

If you have been a co-owner in the past we may take into account how your previous property was managed and maintained, whether you kept to (i) the terms of the equity sharing lease (including the payment of rent) and (ii) any other arrangements you had with Co-Ownership.

Remember you must not be able to get a full mortgage or our shared ownership product, Co-Own, to be eligible for Rent to Own.

Who should applyJoint applicants – if you are married, civil partners, or couples living together or intending to live together in your new home, then you must apply together.

Single applicant – if you are applying on your own, we would expect that you don’t have joint accounts or joint finances with anyone else.

OccupiersPlease let us know the names of all adults and children who will be living in your new home with you, the applicant(s).
Outstanding property debtYou must not have any debt to any third party which was secured on a previous home.
OutgoingsYou must give full details of any monthly outgoings you have. This could include loads, credit/store cards, mail order, childcare, maintenance, and other outgoings.
Previous relationshipsYou must have concluded any settlement arrangements from all previous relationships.
Credit assessmentWhen you apply to Rent to Own we will perform a full credit assessment to determine your affordability. Part of this assessment is to look at your credit file, not your score, using the Experian credit reference agency. We will look at your credit history which will include things like, if you have any credit cards or loans, the amounts of these, your repayments of these, and if you have any missed or late payments.

Your credit history shows how you have managed your credit up to now and is taken into account as part of our decision. We recommend you get a copy of your credit report before applying and check it.  If you have a query about an entry on your credit report this must be resolved before you apply.

Things that will affect your credit assessment include, but are not limited to:

  • The level and type of credit commitments that you have
  • Any late/missed payments
  • Any defaults – the number, amount and nature of these
  • Court judgments, bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangement (IVAs).
Credit commitmentsYou must be able to service your current credit commitments as part of your outgoings, including your monthly rent.

You will need a plan in place to reduce your household debt to a level whereby you will be able to get a mortgage or Co-Own by the end of your tenancy.

Debt managementBefore making an application to Rent to Own, any of the following arrangements must have been settled (and be shown as settled on your credit file) for the stated period:

  • Debt Relief Orders – 3 years
  • Bankruptcy – 3 years
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement – 3 years
  • Payday Loans & Home Credit (or equivalent products) – 6 months
  • Money Judgements – 6 months

The following arrangements also need to have been settled and will affect your credit assessment:

  • Debt Management Plans
  • Money Judgements
  • Defaults

If you have had a minor default/debt management plan within the last 12 months we will take this into account in your credit assessment. If however the default(s)/debt management plan involved a higher balance or there were multiple defaults/debt management plans you must wait for 12 months after the last of these has been noted as settled on your credit file before making an application.

If you have had a missed or late payment within the last 12 months we will take this into account in your credit assessment. If however you have regular missed and/or late payments you must have 12 months clear payment history on the account.

Just remember that you can have no adverse credit at the time of making a Rent to Own application.

Managing your bank accountsWe will review 3 months bank statements as part of the application. If these show any unauthorised overdrafts, returned Direct Debits, or bank charges for unauthorised usage, you will not be eligible for Rent to Own. If you are heavily reliant on credit or an overdraft to pay your household costs and other outgoings, you may not be eligible for Rent to Own.
EmploymentThe following types of employment are acceptable and you must be with your current employer for at least the following period before you apply as indicated below.  You must not be under notice of termination of employment or redundancy.

  • Permanent – 3 months plus
  • Fixed Term – 6 months plus
  • Temporary – 6 months plus
  • Zero Hours Contract – 6 months plus
  • Self Employed – 1 year plus
  • You must declare all income for the household at the time of application. We will require evidence of the amount and nature of all income.
  • We’ll require payslips for at least the last 3 months of employment.
  • If you’re self-employed you’ll need to provide SA302 summaries in Northern Ireland for the last full year and also the full tax return for your SA302. You will also need to have been trading with no breaks for at least the last 3 months. In addition, company directors must provide 3 months’ payslips. If you have experienced a significant change in your income/company income in the last 12 months we may not be able to support your application. You should contact us before applying to help us understand your current situation. We may require further information such as your last 3 months business bank statements.
  • We may accept income from more than one employment. Our general criteria applies to all jobs.
  • We accept income earned from overtime, bonuses, commission and allowances up to 50% where sustainable.
Other incomeIf your monthly income is heavily reliant on benefits or other unearned income, we recommend that before you apply you speak with a mortgage adviser or lender as your type of income may impact your ability to get a mortgage when you take up the Option to Purchase.

We will consider the following other income:

  • Pension – both private and state pensions
  • Working Tax Credit – if there is more than one applicant, we’ll need to know whether the award is made jointly or to one person.
  • Child Tax Credit – for up to 2 children in the household if they are aged 14 and under at the time of application. If there is more than one applicant, we will need to know whether the award is made jointly or to one person.
  • Pension Credit
  • Employment And Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Child Benefit – for up to 2 children in the household if they are aged 14 or under at the time of application.
  • Universal Credit – can consider child and disability elements (if available).
  • Maintenance – we may accept maintenance payments from a former partner for up to 2 children in the household aged 14 or under at the time of application. This may be a private arrangement or court approved.
    You must provide evidence of the amount and payment history.
  • Foster Income
  • Housing Benefit – sorry but we do not accept Housing Benefit as other income.
SavingsYou must provide evidence of any savings.
All applicants must prove they have been able to afford their current lifestyle. They must also prove they will be able to afford the commitment of renting their home through Rent to Own from their current disposable income.
Application informationAll application information must be correct and true. Any fraudulent, false or misleading information, statements or omissions in respect of an application may be sufficient grounds for the application being cancelled. For further information see the Rent to Own Terms & Conditions (Declarations) on our website.
Previous applicantsPreviously declined applicants can’t apply until 3 months have passed from the date they were told of an unsuccessful application. However, any fraudulent, false or misleading information or omissions in respect of an application or a vexatious application will mean that an applicant will not be able to make another application for Rent to Own or for any of Co-Ownership’s products for 12 months from the date of cancellation of the application.

Please remember that you will be charged for a new assessment when you apply again, so be sure to check that you meet all the criteria before submitting a new application.

To enable as many people as possible to avail of Rent to Own, applicants will only be able to take up Rent to Own in respect of one property.

Change in circumstancesIf your circumstances change at any stage during an application you must let us know about this. We will review your circumstances. This may result in your application being revised or withdrawn.