Blog > What are the new Equity Release Council Standards?

What are the new Equity Release Council Standards?

what is the equity release council?

By Clare Yates • 4th April 2024 • 3 min read

Equity Release Council updates its strict set of Standards

The Equity Release Council has updated its Standards to offer enhanced protections for lifetime mortgage customers. They include new Standards for mandatory payment lifetime mortgages, and the requirement for advisers to cover income and expenditure as part of the advice process.

As the equity release industry grows and develops innovative new products, the Council regularly reviews and updates its Standards, which all its members must abide by. These initial changes are the first tranche of updates and came into effect on 1 March 2024. A wider refresh of the Standards is planned for later in the year.

One of the more recent industry product innovations has been the introduction of mandatory payment lifetime mortgages. The Council has written a new set of standards specifically relating to these new products, which include:

  • The right to remain in your home as long as mandatory payments are made.
  • Arrears plus arrears interest are liable outside of the ‘no negative equity guarantee’.
  • The right to make voluntary penalty-free payments is only available once your mandatory payment period has ended.

Typically with equity release, homeowners do not have to make any mandatory payments until the plan comes to an end. Usually, this is when they pass away or move into long-term care. 

However, some equity release lenders have recently introduced mandatory payment plans to help younger customers access higher loan-to-values than would normally be available to them. Typically, these plans require contractual payments of partial interest from the age of 55 up to a specified age, say 66, before switching to a standard roll-up lifetime mortgage.

The Council’s new Standards also include the requirement for advisers to cover income and expenditure during the equity release advice process. Whilst this vital topic has long been included in many adviser discussions, the inclusion makes it mandatory and ensures a consistent approach.

Michelle Highman, Chair of the Equity Release Council’s Standards Committee, said: “The evolution of our Standards is key to helping the market continue to grow and ensure that the diverse customers who choose to access their housing equity can do so with confidence.”

What are the current Council Standards?

To be a member of the Equity Release Council, members must ensure their products meet the following set of Standards designed to protect customers:

  • Lifetime mortgage rates must be fixed for each release. If variable, the rate must be capped for the life of the loan.
  • You retain the right to live in your property until the last surviving homeowner moves into long-term care or passes away.
  • You have the right to transfer your plan to another property, providing your new home meets your provider’s lending criteria.
  • All plans must offer the ‘no negative equity guarantee’ to ensure that when your home is sold when your plan comes to an end, you’ll never owe more than the value of your home. 
  • You have the right to make penalty-free payments, subject to lending criteria.

You can read more about the Equity Release Council’s Standards here.

Find out more about equity release

For more information about equity release and to arrange advice from our selected advisers, why not call us on 0808 178 3055, or request a call back. Our friendly team are ready and waiting to help you further. Or if you just need an idea of how much money you could release, use our free equity release calculator.

Read more:

What is the Equity Release Council?

How is equity release regulated?

What is equity release?

What are the latest equity release interest rates?

About Clare Yates. With over a decade’s experience writing about later life financial planning, Clare offers a wealth of knowledge about equity release, pension annuities, wills, LPAs and more. When she isn’t writing, Clare likes to spend her time baking and going on walks with her husband, two children and their rescue dog. Follow Clare on LinkedIn

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