Equity release plans offer homeowners a way to access the value tied up in their properties while continuing to live in them. This financial option has gained popularity in recent years, providing individuals with an opportunity to unlock the equity they have built up in their homes. In this article, we will delve into the world of equity release, with a specific focus on ex-local authority houses and the involvement of commercial properties. We will discuss the different types of equity release plans, eligibility criteria, application process, and various factors to consider when exploring this financial avenue.

Equity release will reduce the value of your estate and can affect your eligibility for means-tested benefits

What are ex-local authority houses?

Ex-local authority houses are properties that were once owned and managed by the local government or council but have since been sold to private owners. This usually happens through schemes like the “Right to Buy” program in the UK, which allows tenants in council-owned properties to purchase their homes at a discount.

These properties can be a mix of houses and flats and are often more affordable than other types of housing in the same area. They can be a good option for first-time buyers or those looking for a more affordable housing option. However, they may also come with certain restrictions or stipulations, such as restrictions on alterations or improvements, so it’s important for potential buyers to do their research.

Equity Release Plans: An Overview

Equity release plans are financial arrangements that allow homeowners to release a portion of their property’s value as a lump sum or in regular instalments while retaining the right to live in the property. These plans are typically available to individuals aged 55 or over and come in two main forms: lifetime mortgages and home reversion plans.

Lifetime Mortgages

Lifetime mortgages are the most common type of equity release plan. They involve borrowing against the value of your property while retaining ownership. With a lifetime mortgage, you can receive a tax-free lump sum or regular payments, depending on your preference. The loan, including any accrued interest, is repaid when you pass away or move into long-term care.

Home Reversion Plans

Home reversion plans involve selling a percentage or all of your property to a reversion company. In return, you receive a tax-free lump sum or regular payments and the right to live in the property for the rest of your life. Once the property is sold, the reversion company receives its share of the proceeds.

Equity Release and Property Types

Equity release is available for various property types, including ex-local authority properties, retirement properties, terraced houses, ex-council flats, and leasehold flats. Whether you own a freehold or leasehold property, equity release may be an option to consider.

When applying for equity release, mortgage lenders and equity release firms will assess the property’s value, minimum property criteria, and property title to determine eligibility. The value of your property is an essential factor as it determines the maximum loan amount you can access through equity release.

Property value can increase over time, allowing you to benefit from the appreciation and potentially unlock more equity in the future. This can be particularly advantageous for homeowners looking to move up the property ladder or seeking additional funds for various purposes.

If you are interested in getting a mortgage for an ex-local authority house, you can contact a specialist mortgage broker.

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Considerations for Equity Release

Before proceeding with equity release, it’s crucial to consider certain factors and seek appropriate advice:

  1. Eligibility and Advice: It’s advisable to consult an independent advisor or qualified financial advisor who specialises in equity release to assess your eligibility and provide personalized illustrations based on your individual circumstances.
  2. Service Charges and Difficulties: Service charges payable on leasehold properties, such as retirement flats, should be carefully considered, as they may affect your affordability and financial planning. Additionally, potential service difficulties should be evaluated to ensure a smooth equity release process.
  3. Building Insurance and Maintenance: It’s important to maintain adequate building insurance coverage and budget for ongoing property maintenance costs. This ensures the protection and upkeep of your property throughout the equity release period.
  4. Interest Rates and Mortgage Options: Interest rates for equity release products may differ from regular mortgages. It’s essential to compare the rates, terms, and repayment options of different equity release lenders to find the most suitable solution. Conventional mortgages, regular mortgages, or retirement mortgages may also be alternatives to consider, depending on your needs and circumstances.
  5. Maximum Loan and Common Loan: The maximum loan you can access through equity release will depend on your property’s value, age, and eligibility criteria. It’s important to understand the implications of borrowing the maximum loan amount and consider whether a smaller, more conservative loan would better suit your needs. Additionally, common loan options allow joint owners to apply for equity release, providing an opportunity to access funds based on their combined eligibility.
  6. Legal and Financial Advice: Seeking legal advice is crucial when considering equity release. A qualified advisor can review the agreement in principle, leasehold agreements, or agreements on retirement flats to ensure you fully understand your rights and obligations. It’s also recommended to consult a financial advisor who can provide comprehensive financial advice and help you make informed decisions.

Equity Release Providers and Market Overview

The equity release market offers a range of lenders and equity release firms that provide different products and criteria. Some well-known providers in the market include Nationwide Building Society, Equity Release Warehouse, Age Partnership, Lloyds Bank Equity Release Schemes, and Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Release. It’s essential to research different providers, their current equity release schemes, and the criteria they require for eligibility.

Considering the Impact of the Pandemic

The ongoing pandemic has influenced the equity release market with the introduction of pandemic-related criteria by some lenders. The majority of brokers expect increased availability of equity release as the market recovers from the pandemic, allowing homeowners to take advantage of the “summer of freedom” and access funds for their financial needs.

Equity Release and Property Variants

Equity release is available for various property variants, including 1-bedroom apartments, basement apartments, and properties with specific construction types. Properties with commercial neighbours, high-voltage power lines, or in proximity to solar farms, wind turbines, or radio wholesale activities may also be considered for equity release, depending on the lender’s criteria.


Equity release provides homeowners with a means to access the value tied up in their properties while continuing to reside in them. With various equity release plans, eligibility criteria, and property considerations, it’s important to seek personalized advice and guidance from qualified advisors, such as independent financial advisors or equity release specialists. By carefully considering factors like property type, eligibility, and the impact of future property market variations, you can make informed decisions and unlock the potential of equity release to support your financial goals.

About The Author

mortgage broker damian youell

See some of Damian’s client reviews below

Damian is an experienced mortgage broker, founder of NeedingAdvice.co.uk Ltd and company director. With over a decade working as a mortgage broker he has a strong understanding of hard to place mortgage cases. With hundreds of 5 star client reviews. hundreds of repeat clients his work speaks for himself.

He started NeedingAdvice.co.uk as a one man band with the philosophy of putting clients needs ahead of his own. This ethos of offering excellent customer service has helped the business grow over the years. He gets satisfaction on getting cases pushed through to offer stage where other mortgage broker and companies have failed.

Throughout his time as an adviser he has carved out a niche area of advice helping clients with their business protection requirements too. Having helped hundreds of client with Relevant Life Policies, Shareholder Protection Insurance, Keyperson Policies and other important protection requirements of large to small businesses.

At home he is a family man and likes to spend his time with his four children and wife Lisa. He enjoys going on holidays spending time with friends and going for walks.