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What is the Equity Release Council?

30/11/2021 |  min read

What is the Equity Release Council?

Launched in 1991 as the Safe Home Income Plan (SHIP) and rebranded as the Equity Release Council (ERC) in 2012, the organisation is supported by the leading providers of equity release to promote safe schemes and to safeguard the interests of homeowners.

The Equity Release Council’s standards and principles ensure that all member companies provide a full and easy to understand presentation of their plans.

Members like us at Responsible display the Equity Release Council’s logo on our literature as a guarantee to customers that we observe the Council’s customer-focused requirements.

The Equity Release Council’s Requirements

Members of the Equity Release Council must uphold criteria aimed at putting customer needs first and increasing honesty and transparency across the sector. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Members of the ERC agree to provide a fair, simple and complete presentation of their products. The benefits, obligations, variables and limitations must be clearly set out in their literature, including all costs which the applicant has to bear in setting up the scheme, the position on moving home, the tax situation and the effect of changes in house value.
  2. All plans must carry a no-negative-equity guarantee, which means that you will never owe more than the value of your home. In the unlikely case that the housing market significantly crashes, any excess would then be absorbed by the lender.
  3. The client’s legal work will always be performed by the solicitor of their choice. In all cases prior to the completion of the plan, the solicitor will be provided with full details of the benefits the client will receive. The solicitor will be required to sign a certificate to the effect that the scheme has been explained to the client
  4. ERC members are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are required to follow a strict procedure for dealing with complaints. If the complainant remains unsatisfied, they can take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

What are the benefits of dealing with an Equity Release Council member?

If you are considering releasing equity from your home, you should ask yourself three key questions:

  1. Will I have the right to live in my property for the rest of my life?
  2. Will I have the freedom to move to suitable alternative property without financial penalties?
  3. Will I receive a tax-free cash lump sum?

If you release equity through an ERC member, then the answer to all of these questions is guaranteed to be yes.

Responsible Equity Release will only ever use lenders that are members of the Equity Release Council, meaning that you will always enjoy the safeguards guaranteed by them.

Contact our Information Team today on 0800 048 5384 to find out more about how equity release, and the assurances provided by releasing equity with a member of the ERC, could work for you and your family.

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