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In a first for Mid Sussex, local people have the chance to become homeowners despite having no savings, thanks to an innovative partnership between Mid Sussex District Council and affordable Rent to Buy providers, Rentplus-UK.
The new partnership means eight new affordable Rent to Buy homes were made available close to Felbridge on a prestigious Abbey Developments site, known as Martins Mead. Under the model, private finance funds new affordable housing at no cost to the local council.
Local MP Mims Davies MP joined with Councillors from Mid Sussex District Council to welcome new residents into the new homes they will be buying.
The new homes consist of 6 x 2-bedroom Houses and 2 x 3-bedroom houses and all have fenced gardens and a secure bicycle storage unit in the gardens. All applicants were required to have previously lived in or have connections to Mid Sussex.
The Rentplus homes saw over 100 applicants and, all homes have now been allocated. All tenants are key or essential workers, including working in the NHS and emergency services or local schools. Six were previously living in social housing properties in the district which they have freed up for reallocating. The remaining two were on the Council’s Housing Register.
The tenants started their home ownership journey by moving into their brand-new homes without paying any upfront deposit. They will pay an affordable rent based on the Local Housing Allowance for 5 years living in the home that they will one day own whilst they save up to buy it and build a good credit history.
By paying a below market rent they can save more each month. At the outset, they choose whether to buy their home after 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. They move in with no deposit and when they come to purchase, Rentplus will gift them 10% of their home’s value at that time to add to their savings and reduce the mortgage they need. They will buy their home using a high-street mortgage and then own 100% of it as if they had bought on the open market.
At the opening, Emma George, Area Director for the South East at Rentplus, said: “Affordability is an issue across the country. We’re excited to be offering Rentplus homes in Mid Sussex, to offer local homes for local people, enabling hard working people to stay living in the communities they grew up in.”
Councillor Salisbury Mid-Sussex District Council added:
“It is wonderful to see new homes being provided to help local people move towards home ownership. In doing so, this will also free up existing social housing for others, which provides another huge benefit to our district.”
Local MP, Mims Davies added: “These homes are life changing for the tenants moving in and are an inspiration for those who are aspiring to buy but may be finding it difficult to save for a deposit. Mid-Sussex District Council and Rentplus are doing something quite forward thinking, in helping local people achieve this. It was good to meet some of the families. Thank you to Sarah and her girls and Marcus for showing me around their homes. They now have the chance to become homeowners and we wish them well in their new homes.”
Mims Davies and Councillor Salisbury joined with the households to plant a sweet cherry tree, part of the Rentplus commitment to plant trees for the late Queen’s Jubilee Canopy.