Rent-to-own opens a new path for aspiring homeowners in northern Ontario

There's a new program in northern Ontario that is helping aspiring home buyers find new options to becoming home owners.

Requity Homes started offering rent-to-own program in Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay

Couple and their dogs stand in front of house.
Maria and Jose Andrade are in a rent-to own program with Requity Homes and plan to buy their home once the rental phase is complete. Because they are newcomers to Canada they did not have a credit score for this country (Supplied by Requity Homes)

When Maria and Jose Andrade arrived in Canada in January 2021 they didn't have any credit scores in this country. 

That made it difficult to try to get a mortgage for a house in Sault Ste Marie, Ont., where they decided to settle.

Jose started looking for options and found Requity Homes, which offers a rent-to-own program. It wasn't long before the couple moved into their dream home in September 2021.

"We think that was the best thing we ever could do," Maria said.

New path to home ownership

Requity Homes first started in Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, and Thunder Bay. They have since expanded to Saskatoon and Regina, Sask.

The Canadian real estate start-up business is working to help first-time home buyers move into homes using a rent-to-own model.

The firm is "creating a new path to home ownership in Canada through a modernized rent program," said founder and CEO Amy Ding.

She explained that once clients find the house they want to buy, Requity Homes buys it outright, then for the first two to three years the client rents the house from the company. Along with regular rent payments, the client also pays a set premium toward the down payment for the house.

"Once they are able to qualify for a mortgage they can buy back that same home from us down the line at a guaranteed price both parties agreed upon initially," Ding said.

"It's like a stepping stone."

Ding used the 'lease to own a car' analogy when explaining the program, as it's similar to when someone leases a car with an option to buy it once the lease is up.

Changing their minds

Clients have the flexibility to change their mind about home ownership.

"If clients walk away they can cash out their savings," she said. "They don't have to buy back the home. It's an option, it's not an obligation."

During the 'lease to own' term Requity Homes also helps its clients get ready for mortgages by giving them the resources allowing them to make better financial decisions, and improve their credit score.

The target market is aspiring first time homebuyers who have the cash flow, but can't qualify for a traditional mortgage. They may be newcomers to Canada who haven't yet established their Canadian credit history, or they have a good credit score but just lack a down payment.

"But at the same time, they also believe in the whole notion of the mission where we want to make home ownership more attainable for those families," Ding said.

The goal is to help 10,000 families get into homes over the next five years.

"I know it's an ambitious goal and we're still early in the journey, but I'm pretty confident we can get there."

To be able to buy homes outright for its clients, Requity Homes has pre-seed financing led by Calgary-based Boardwalk Investment Limited, with other partners and several angel investors.

"We work with strategic partners who actually share the same vision and the same mission in a way like we do where they put in the capital, there are some returns from the rental income, from potential to the capital gain," Ding said.

Lawyers recommended

The Sudbury Real Estate board said there have been other rent-to-own companies operating in this area in the last few years.

Past president Tyler Peroni said he was a realtor for a home that was sold to a client in this type of sale.

Tyler Peroni is former chair of the Sudbury Real Estate Board and a full time realtor. (Tyler Peroni Sudbury Real Estate Broker/Facebook)

"Any program or any way to get people into homes, I think is good, as long as the agreement is fair and equitable, equitable for both sides," he said.

He does suggest having legal representation look over the agreement before signing anything. 

For Maria and Jose they plan to buy their house once their rental period is completed

"We are working on our credit scores in order to apply for a mortgage, and hopefully, we will be permanent residents at that time," Marie said.

"I invite everyone to follow their dreams because there is nothing better than having and living in their own home."


Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who covers news in Sudbury and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to