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Can a lifetime mortgage be refused?

By:  Jennifer Laird | 21st June 2021

A lifetime mortgage lets you release some equity from your home to fund things like home improvements or large expenses. But could your mortgage application be refused? Yes, it can. Let’s check out why. 

Why might a lifetime mortgage be refused?

Well, it often comes down to a property’s resale value. If there’s a risk that your property will decrease in value, you’ll find it harder to get this form of equity release. But although a lifetime mortgage can be refused for many reasons, here’s a rundown of the eight most common grounds.

1. Property value

Typically, your home must be worth at least £70,000 before you can get a lifetime mortgage. So, if your home’s only worth, say, £60,000, it might be worth exploring other ways to generate funds. 

There’s no maximum property value. For example, if your home’s worth £800,000, you could still get equity release if you meet a lender’s criteria. 

2. Age of applicant

You can’t apply for a lifetime mortgage unless you’re aged 55 or over. If you’re a joint homeowner, you must both be over 55.

So, if your partner is under 55, your application will be refused unless you remove their name from the title deeds. This should not be done without full and impartial legal advice.  

3. Nearby commercial premises 

If there’s a commercial property nearby, some lenders might refuse your application.

Why? Because properties beside a commercial unit can be harder to sell, depending on the type of business and how close it is to your home. So, for example, it might be harder to get a lifetime mortgage on a flat above a busy garage than a flat on the same street as an estate agency. 

4. Flood risk

Is your property in a high-risk flood area? If so, you could be rejected for equity release because it’s a risky property for lenders. It might be worth checking with a specialist broker for advice if you’re in a flood zone. 

5. Household clutter

Yes, honestly. If there’s too much clutter in your home, the surveyor can’t inspect the property and they’ll reject your application. So, while there’s no need for your home to be spotless, the surveyor must be able to move around freely and give a property valuation.  

6. Flat roof

You might struggle to get a lifetime mortgage on a property with a flat roof. This is because flat roofs are usually more expensive to repair and more susceptible to damage than other roof types.   

Some lenders will still consider flat-roofed properties, though, depending on the materials used and how much of the roof is flat. 

7. Spray foam cladding

If your property has spray foam insulation inside the roof cavities, you could be rejected. Damp can build up under the wooden frame, and the foam can sometimes damage the roof timber. 

You’ll probably need to consult a specialist broker to find out whether they can match you with a suitable lender. 

8. Ex-local authority home 

While some lenders might give you a lifetime mortgage on an ex-council property, many won’t. Think about hiring a specialist mortgage broker to help you get equity release on an ex-local authority property. 

Can I get a lifetime mortgage with bad credit?

Your credit score won’t normally affect your chances of getting a lifetime mortgage. 

Why? Well, a lifetime mortgage isn’t like a typical mortgage. You don’t need to make monthly repayments. Instead, you can pay off the debt when you die or move into long-term care. So, your credit rating typically won’t affect whether you qualify for a lifetime mortgage. Lenders are normally more interested in the value of your property. 

If you’re worried, consider asking a broker for more advice about this. 

Takeaway

When it comes to a lifetime mortgage, there’s no guarantee of acceptance. But remember, it’s not your only option if you need to release funds, so speak to a financial adviser for more advice.

And finally, you should always consider getting legal and financial advice before applying for any equity release scheme. 


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