Rent-to-Buy: What is this Scheme and How Does it Work in 2024

Rent-to-Buy: What is this Scheme and How Does it Work in 2024

11 Jul, 2024 By: Lotus Smart
Rent-to-Buy: What is this Scheme and How Does it Work in 2024

Rent-to-Buy Schemes in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

2024 is quickly becoming the rent-to-buy year for home ownership. In this blog, we will look at how rent-to-buy schemes work, their benefits and drawbacks, the risks involved, and potential alternatives.

We will also look at the costs associated with getting started, as well as their legal standing in Australia.

How Does a Rent-to-Buy Scheme Work?

How Does a Rent-to-Buy Scheme Work?

A rent-to-buy scheme, also known as rent-to-own, is a scheme where the property is available to potential homebuyers, and some years later, these will be provided an option to develop an interest in owning the property. Here’s an overview of how it works:

  1. Agreement: A tenancy is signed by the tenant with the option of purchasing the property after an agreed-upon period.
  2. Rental: Some part of the monthly rent can be credited towards the eventual purchase of the house.
  3. Option Fee: A part of the option fee is typically paid in advance and is entirely credited against the purchase price.
  4. Purchase Option: A purchase offering allows the tenant to purchase at the termination of the rental period or walk away.

Example Breakdown

Aspect Details
Rental Period 2-5 years
Monthly Rent $1,500 (with $300 towards purchase)
Option Fee $10,000
Purchase Price $300,000

Advantages & Disadvantages of Rent-to-Buy

Advantages And Disadvantages of Rent-to-Buy


  • Better route to homeownership: Rent-to-own is very favorable for those people who have insufficient savings and moderate credit scores.
  • Price Lock-In: Generally, the price to be paid is fixed at the agreement’s inception; hence, the buyer is insulated against market risks.
  • Time to improve one’s financial situation: While renting, it’s most likely that one has the required time to take the correct actions about the credit scores and save up more so that they might be able to afford a more substantial down payment.


  • Non-Refundable Fees: The option fee and the portion of rent that applies to the purchase price are usually non-refundable, even if the tenant decides not to buy.
  • Higher Rent Payments: The payment of rent every month might come out costlier than what the market demands.
  • Limited Flexibility: The tenant may become locked into a single property and face a penalty for breaching the agreement.
Risks of Rent-to-Buy Schemes

Risks of Rent-to-Buy Schemes

  • Market Changes: If property values decline, the purchaser may owe more than a property is worth.
  • Contract Terms: Long contracts can hide adverse terms in fine print.
  • Legal Problems: There could be considered a lot of legal hassles as the definition of the legality and regulation of such schemes is very ambiguous in most areas.
Alternatives to Rent-to-Buy Schemes

Alternatives to Rent-to-Buy Schemes

  1. Traditional Mortgages: This is where one directly acquires a house by taking a mortgage.
  2. Shared Ownership: Part of the property is bought, while the rest is rented.
  3. Option to Lease: This is almost similar to rent-to-buy, though with varying terms and flexibility.

Comparison of Alternatives

Alternative Key Feature
Traditional Mortgages Immediate ownership with a mortgage
Shared Ownership Buy a portion, rent the rest
Option to Lease More flexible terms purchase option

How Much Does Rent-to-Buy Cost?

How Much Does Rent-to-Buy Cost?

The costs associated with rent-to-buy schemes vary greatly depending on the property and any agreed-upon terms. Here are the typical costs involved:

  • Option Fee: Typically 1-5% of the Purchase Price.
  • Monthly Rent: Generally higher than market rent, with a portion going toward the purchase price.
  • Purchase Price: This would be agreed upon at the outset. It is likely to be higher than the current market value of the property.

Cost Example

Item Amount
Option Fee $10,000
Monthly Rent $1,500
Rent to Own $300/month
Purchase Price $300,000

How to Start the Rent-to-Buy Process

How to Start the Rent-to-Buy Process

  1. Research: Research about the local market and existing rent-to-buy options out there.
  2. Professional Guidance: Seek advice from real estate agents, financial advisors, and attorneys.
  3. Review Agreements: Carefully consider the terms introduced to you in the rent-to-buy agreement.
  4. Arrange Financing: Make provisions for future mortgage approval if you purchase.
Is Rent-to-Buy Illegal Anywhere in Australia?

Is Rent-to-Buy Illegal Anywhere in Australia?

While rent-to-buy schemes are permissible in Australia, these are sometimes regulated under state-specific legislation. It is important to contact local authorities or legal experts for advice on compliance with regional laws.

Legal Status by State

State/Territory Legal Status
New South Wales Legal with regulations
Victoria Legal with regulations
Queensland Legal with regulations
Western Australia Legal with regulations
South Australia Legal with regulations