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Winner of The Cambridge’s rent-return housing scheme ‘overwhelmed with joy’





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

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

Jo Grindley, Liberty Cornell and Muntasir Hashim were winners in The Cambridge Building Society’s unique rent-return housing scheme. Picture: The Cambridge Building Society
Jo Grindley, Liberty Cornell and Muntasir Hashim were winners in The Cambridge Building Society’s unique rent-return housing scheme. Picture: The Cambridge Building Society

Muntasir came to the UK 12 years ago from Bangladesh to study material science and works in R&D at Cambridge GaN Devices in St John’s Innovation Centre.

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.”

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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, a student services officer, were among nearly 50 applicants in the scheme - the only one of its kind in the UK. Each was given a number and the winners were given the news by CEO Peter Burrows.

This scheme was initially launched in 2019 and 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.



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