Equity release help

Firms selling equity release have to give you certain important information to help you decide if you should enter a scheme.

Regulation of equity release schemes

Firms advising on or selling equity release have to be:

  • the agent of a regulated firm, or
  • regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

And they need to have a relevant equity release qualification to give advice.

Regulated firms and their agents are placed on the FCA Register and have to meet certain standards.

Getting advice

Under current rules, all firms offering equity release products must offer you advice. You might also want to get impartial advice on your options from an independent financial adviser, or use a free service like StepChange.

This means making sure equity release is right for you and, if it is, only recommending a product that is suitable for your needs and circumstances.

You can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if the advice you were given turns out to have been unsuitable for you.

Always make sure the firm you use is on the FCA Register.

If they aren’t, you won’t have access to complaints and compensation procedures if things go wrong.

Follow the link below for information on what to do if you have a complaint about a financial adviser.

This is a complex area and independent legal advice should be sought before entering into any agreement.

Information you will receive

Step 1

When you contact a provider or adviser they must give you clear information about the service they offer.

They might do this during the first conversation verbally or in a written document.

Either way, they must confirm that they are giving you advice and tell you whether, as part of this service, they:

  • will charge you a fee
  • offer lifetime mortgages, home reversion plans, or both
  • offer equity release schemes from the whole market, or from a limited range of providers.

Use this information to shop around to get the service you want at the price you’re happy with.

Step 2

Once they make a recommendation, the provider or adviser will give you a Key Facts Illustration (KFI).

Some mortgage advisers and lenders must give you this when they recommend a mortgage or make a mortgage offer.

These documents provide a personalised illustration for you and will set out things like:

  • any additional features
  • the service you’re getting
  • what happens if you don’t want the mortgage or plan any more
  • the overall cost of the scheme, as well as any fees you’ll have to pay
  • a description of the scheme, who the provider is and, for a lifetime mortgage, the interest rate deal
  • what you’ve told them about how much you want to release and the type of scheme you’re interested in
  • where a lifetime mortgage requires regular payments, how much they would be if interest rates went up – so you can see whether you think you could cope with the increase.

Make sure you read and understand this document and ask the provider or adviser to explain anything that is unclear. It should show the terms of the scheme recommended and if any means tested benefits you get could be affected.

You can use this document to shop around and compare similar schemes from other providers.

Step 3

Once your application has been approved, you or your adviser will receive an offer document.

It will include details such as:

  • the fees
  • your name and address
  • the amount you will receive
  • any special conditions such as clearing any outstanding mortgages.

Be sure to read it carefully.

Other organisations that can help

If you are struggling to make ends meet and are looking for financial help, there are a number of agencies and charities that provide free information and advice.

Get help sorting out debt problems:

Check your entitlement to benefits:

Grants for keeping your home warm if you’re aged over 60:

Financial help for home improvements:

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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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