Rent to Own Applicant Criteria

Criteria updated June 2021

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.


You must be over 18 to apply.

Residency status

You 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.

Home owner

You 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. 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.

Joint Applicants

If you are married, civil partners, or couples living together or intending to live together in your new home, then we would expect you to apply together.

Outstanding property debt

You must not have any debt to any third party which was secured on a previous home.

Previous relationships

You must have concluded any settlement arrangements from all previous relationships.

Credit Assessment

When 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.

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 Commitments

You 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 management

Before making an application to Rent to Own, any of the following arrangements must have been settled for the stated period:

  • Debt Relief Orders – 3 years
  • Bankruptcy – 3 years
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement – 3 years
  • Payday Loans & Home Credit – 6 months

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

  • Debt Management Plans
  • Money Judgements
  • Defaults

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

Managing your account

We 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.


The 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 for the last full year. 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 6 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.
  • If you were furloughed, and have returned to work at your normal hours for at least one month we will take into account your usual income. We will require your payslips for at least the last 3 months. If any information on your payslips is not clear we may require a letter from your employer confirming that you have returned to work fully at your normal hours and the amount of your usual income. If you are on the Job Support Scheme or have returned to work for less than one month, we cannot take this income into account. if you are part of a couple and either of these apply, you should still apply jointly but your income won’t be included.
  • 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 income

If your monthly income is heavily reliant on benefits or other unearned income, we recommend that before you apply you speak with a financial 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.

Previous applicants

Previously 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 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 circumstances

If your circumstances change 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.