Safe Home Income Plan (SHIP) which has been the trade body for Equity Release for many years has been replaced with effect from 1st June 2012 by a new organisation called The Equity Release Council. SHIP was an organisation that set standards for products in the industry. These standards will continue with the Equity Release Council and include:
- The right for the customer to remain in their homes for the rest of their lives
- The right to be sable to move in the future and take the plan with them
- The requirement for the customer to take independent legal advice.
- No negative equity guarantee which means that the estate cannot owe more that the sale value of the property after death.
The biggest benefit is that the Equity Release Council is a much more encompassing organisation as membership is sought not only from Equity Release lenders but also solicitors and Equity Release Advisers to encompass all aspects of the Equity Release process.
The aim of the Equity Release Council is centred on growing the Equity Release market safely and creating an industry that is able to thrive and develop. It aims to improve the customer journey by providing unbiased information and advice. The aim is also to lobby government to influence policy trying get Equity Release positioned more positively with in the scope of retirement plans.
This new body is a very positive development for the Equity Release Market which must now begin to make a difference