The role of Equity Release Council
What is the Equity Release Council?
The Equity Release Council is a voluntary trade body to which advisers, providers, solicitors and other professionals in this market can belong. We are not the regulator (this is the Financial Conduct Authority), nor do we have any enforcement powers over our members. The Council is not authorised to offer advice or to arrange Equity Release or other types of mortgages.
What are the core product standards set by the Equity Release Council?
Equity release product standards are set out below:
- For lifetime mortgages the rate must be fixed for each release or, if variable, the rate must be capped for the life of the loan.
- You must have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move into long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract.
- You have the right to move to another property subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan.
- The product must have a “no negative equity guarantee”. This means that when your property is sold, and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider, neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more.
- All customers taking out new plans which meet the Council’s standards must have the right to make penalty-free payments, subject to lending criteria.
Our members are only allowed to tell you that a product meets these standards if it meets all of them. If you are offered or are considering a product that does not meet all of the standards, the product literature must explain which standards are not met, and give an illustration of the types of risk that this might pose for you.
* The Council also has product standards for mandatory payment lifetime mortgages. To view these please refer to Standards v12 Part A.