Who are the Equity Release Council (ERC)?

How Can the Equity Release Council Members Help You?
Contributors: Nicola Date, Katherine Read. Edited by Rachel Wait & Reviewed by Francis Hui
The Equity Release Council is a Self-Regulated Non-Profit Organisation That Safeguards the Interests of Homeowners. They Represent over 180 companies.

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The Equity Release Council is a body formed in 1991 that oversees the equity release industry, ensuring a high standard of products and the protection of homeowners unlocking equity from their estate.

Listen up! You’re about to discover why equity release is truly safe.

With a troubled history fraught with scandal and debt, equity release hasn’t always been the best idea for retirees.

The question is, have things changed in May 2022?

Through this article, you’ll learn:

  • The measures taken to protect the equity release market.
  • Who is the Equity Release Council and how it works.
  • Why it’s vital to select a regulated equity release plan provider in May 2022.
  • The rules set out by the Equity Release Council.

We’ve spent hours studying over 28 regulated plan providers, summarised the crucial role of the Equity Release Council, and put together this comprehensive guide.

Are you itching to fully understand the role of the Equity Release Council?

Let’s explore!

Equity Release Explained

Before you continue reading, we’ve summed up what you’ll want to discover about equity release products in this short video. Check it out!

What Does the Equity Release Council Do?

The role played by the Equity Release Council is to regulate legitimate equity release companies that are located in the UK and protect the interest of the homeowner.

4 of the Equity Release Council’s¹ responsibilities include:

  • Offering you all the information you might require on equity release and its products.
  • Protecting any consumers using equity release, and those who are considering releasing equity from their home.
  • Raising awareness on how equity release might be an ideal option after retirement.
  • Representing more than 180 member firms and more than 500 people in the equity release industry, from experienced financial advisers and lenders to representatives and surveyors.

The Council Regulates Legitimate Equity Release Providers

The Equity Release Council is there to help you recognise the equity release companies to avoid, such as:

  • Plan providers who don’t have a ‘no negative equity guarantee.’
  • Lenders who aren’t members of the ERC.
  • Providers who charge high interest rates.
  • Lenders who charge very high repayments and who charge them early.
  • Equity release firms that give you large loan amounts before they even assess your circumstances.

What’s Their Code of Conduct?

The Equity Release Council’s code of conduct includes your having the right to remain home for life and never owing more than the value of your estate.

Here are more details:

  • The borrower has the right to live at home until they pass away.
  • The borrower will be given clear, and concisely written paperwork which will includes details about setup costs and information on how changes in house values might affect the plan.
  • The consumer’s preferred representative steers any legal work. The borrower and their solicitor² will sign a certificate confirming the plan’s certification and that all the risks and jargon are understood.
  • The client can move their plan to a different property without facing penalties.
  • The Equity Release Certificate will detail the cost to the client’s asset and estate.
  • Equity release plans carry “no negative equity guarantees”.

Are you wondering what this means? Continue reading to find out!

What Is the ‘No Negative Equity Guarantee?’

The ‘no negative equity guarantee‘ is a clause by the Equity Release Council that ensures that you, or your estate,³ will never owe more than the property is worth when it sells.

Simply put, the no negative equity promise means that you (or your estate) will never be liable for more than the property’s value when it is sold.

Latest Equity Release News on Guaranteed Voluntary Repayments

In January 2022, the Equity Release Council announced that all new lifetime mortgage plans unlocked through member lenders must come with the option of voluntary loan and interest repayments.

Furthermore, homeowners can stop and start making payments whenever they wish.

Commonly Asked Questions

Who Are the Equity Release Council?

What Are the Product Standards Put into Place by the Equity Release Council?

What Are the Equity Release Council's Roles and Responsibilities?

How Does the Equity Release Council Protect Me?

In Conclusion

Spending time working out your finances and retirement plan can be quite draining.

Fortunately, the Equity Release Council is there to protect you, should you choose to release equity from your property.

The council will help prevent you and your heirs from spending too much money on interest and losing unnecessary cash.

It’s vital in May 2022 to use a regulated and top equity release provider and be aware of the equity release providers to avoid and release equity in a safe and life-changing way.

You can get in touch with your financial adviser today to start your equity release journey.

Make sure you use our equity release calculator and see the amount of equity you can release!

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Editorial Note: This content has been independently collected by the SovereignBoss advisor team and is offered on a non-advised basis. Sovereignboss may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

rachel w

Rachel Wait
Personal Finance Journalist

Rachel is an experienced finance journalist and editor with a particular interest in personal finance and consumer affairs. She has vast experience writing about money issues, property, insurance, and consumer affairs, and you’ll find her articles regularly featured in top media and newspaper publications.
John Lawson

Written by
John Lawson
Founder SovereignBoss

John is passionate about education and has made it his life-long mission to assist UK citizens on their future financial options, with a specialist interest in equity release, and SovereignBoss is the natural extension of this passion.

Reviewed by
Francis Hui
Senior Risk Manager

Having held various high-level roles across the industry, Francis is truly an expert in aiding UK citizens in their financial decisions and risk analysis. His unique insight and statistical knowledge make him the perfect person to help you take your financial future to the next level.
kath icon

Katherine Read
Consumer Affairs Writer

Since joining the editorial team at SovereignBoss, Katherine has become focused on bringing transparency to finances and opportunities for those approaching retirement age. She writes on the topics of equity release, home reversion, and mortgages.

Nicola Date
Writer & Journalist

Nicola is a financial writer for SovereignBoss and is passionate about the opportunities that equity release can open up for homeowners. Her extensive business experience and deep understanding of the industry means that she’s always up-to-date with the latest developments.

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