Crown Equity Release has applied for membership of Safe Home Income Plans (SHIP), the body whose accreditation guarantees that homeowners will not suffer negative equity in the future.
Launched in August 2001, Crown specialises in unusual equity release applications that may not be accepted by other lenders, such as non-standard conversions or leasehold, or where more than two people live in the property. It specialises in reversion schemes, rather than mortgages, which are not covered under mortgage regulation as laid out in CP146.
Mark King, managing director of Crown Equity Release, said: ‘Crown has followed the rules laid out by SHIP since it was launched, but has had to wait until it was conducting a certain level of business before it could join. We are now conducting more than £20m of business, which is more than the amount needed to join SHIP. We are in the process of applying for accreditation. Although we comply with SHIP’s guidelines, it is just a further endorsement and a sign we are doing things properly. It may also increase our business conducted through IFAs ‘ many of whom only deal with SHIP members.’
The SHIP guarantee also means that borrowers have the right to live in the property for the rest of their lives. They have the right to move house if they want, and they must have had independent legal advice before taking out the scheme. If Crown were to be accepted by SHIP, it would become the eleventh lender to receive accreditation
John King, chairman of SHIP, said: ‘SHIP members conduct 90% of equity release business in the UK. The amount of business done outside SHIP is insignificant. Equity release had bad publicity in the late 1980s and if I were a broker, I would always look to SHIP as a starting point.’