Launched in 1991 as the Safe Home Income Plan and recently rebranded, The Equity Release Council is an organisation that 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 code of practice ensures that all member companies provide a full and easy to understand presentation of their plans.
Members display the Equity Release Council’s logo on their literature as a guarantee to their customers that they observe the code of practice.
The ERC Code of Practice
1. Members of the ERC agree to provide a fair, simple and complete presentation of their plans. 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 carry a ‘no negative equity’ guarantee, which means that you will never owe more than the value of your home.
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 Services Authority (FSA) 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 a ERC member?
If you are considering releasing equity from your home, you should ask yourself three key questions:
1. Do I have the right to live in my property for the rest of my life?
2. Do I have the freedom to move to suitable alternative property without financial penalties?
3. Will I receive either a cash sum or regular income payments?
If you release equity through a ERC member, then the answer to all of these questions is guaranteed to be YES.