‘Overwhelmed with joy’ at rent-return ballot win

January 3, 2023

One of the winners in The Cambridge Building Society’s unique rent-return housing scheme said he was ‘overwhelmed with joy’ at winning the chance to get £26,000 back in three years for a deposit to buy his first home.

Dr Muntasir Hashim, 31, is one of three lucky winners renting the two-bedroom flats above the building society’s branch in Great Shelford for a maximum of three years, after which they will receive 70 per cent of their rent returned for a deposit and a mortgage from The Cambridge to buy their first home.

He said: “It was a big surprise to learn I had won this opportunity and I was overwhelmed with joy.

“I have been renting in Cambridge for six years and have saved a little, but Cambridge is an expensive place to live, and it’s been tough. This gives me the real possibility to make my dreams possible.”

Muntasir came to the UK 12 years ago from Bangladesh to study Material Science and has since become a British citizen. He has a PhD and works in research and development at Cambridge GaN Devices in St John’s Innovation Centre.

He moved in after Christmas and will be living next door to friends Liberty Cornell, 24, and Jo Grindley, 25, who moved into their apartment at the end of last year.

Liberty, a Planning Support Officer for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Jo and I are really lucky to get this opportunity and know it will be a massive help when the time comes to get on the property ladder.

“We both moved back home to Ely after finishing university, but despite knowing it would be a good idea to get our own property we were quite pessimistic about the housing market.

“We knew this scheme would open up our options, so we just had to give it a go. We were thrilled to get the call to say we had been successful in the ballot.”

Liberty and Jo, who works as a Student Services Officer, were among nearly 50 applicants in the scheme, which is the only one of its kind in the UK.

Each applicant was given a number and their corresponding ball was entered into the ballot box and drawn by Chief Commercial Officer, Carole Charter in October.

The successful applicants were told the news by CEO, Peter Burrows, and underwent credit checking and affordability verification before signing their contracts to rent the two modern self-contained flats.

This Rent to Home scheme was initially launched in 2019 and gives first time buyers a deposit to buy a property, which renting might otherwise prevent them saving for.

The first two tenants received their 70 per cent back and moved into their own homes last July. A third moved into the society’s flat above the Cottenham branch in 2020 and will complete his tenancy later this year, when another tenant will be selected in the same process.

Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce