The concept of lifetime mortgage to release the equity held in one’s property initially started somewhere in the mid of 1960s. It is based on a simple process to use the value of your property without having to move out of it. These schemes were not as popular then, as they are today because they were neither systematic nor regulated, which gave birth to several poorly devised products called Shared Appreciated Mortgages that made it look like a poor product in those times. Even today, we cannot forget the stigma that still lingers on amongst today’s elderly population in 1990s.
The government understood the need of regulating equity release schemes to provide consumer protection after the sad events that happened in 1990s. There was a need to protect the consumer rights which motivated the introduction of Safe Home Income Plan, abbreviated as SHIP. It laid down certain voluntary measures to be followed by the institutions offering these lifetime mortgage schemes to get their schemes included under the scope and definition of SHIP. Ship has now been superseded by the Equity Release Council (ERC) which lays down the precedents by which all equity release firms & advisers must adhere to.
These new equity release schemes that meet the ERC criteria have to leave the consumer with the right to repay the loan at anytime which secured against the mortgage of the property, if they want, although against some early repayment charges may be levied. It is even mentioned at www.equityrelease2go.com that all the lifetime mortgage plans must have the inclusion of no negative equity guarantee, so that the consumers need not worry about the liabilities stretching beyond the value of the property. With the increasing flexibility and portability, the consumers even got the rights to move to a houses freely and either transfer the equity release scheme or repay it.
All these schemes are today regulated under the guidelines laid down by FSA as well as Equity Release Council. In 2004, the Financial Services Authority fully regulated these schemes as well as the institutions offering these schemes so as to guard the interest of consumers at large all across UK.
Home reversion plans were merged with lifetime mortgages under the guidance of FSA in 2007. Today, these schemes offer greater flexibility to the consumers, enhanced plans for people suffering from several health ailments as well as the options of only paying interests through the interest only lifetime mortgage plan.
Lifetime mortgage schemes have evolved today as one of best products available, in the right place, at the right time to enhance the lifestyle of people even beyond the age of 55.