Mortgages: Older People

Treasury written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Christian Wakeford Christian Wakeford Conservative, Bury South

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to strengthen the Equalities Act 2010 to prevent discrimination by financial businesses in relation to home mortages for prospective borrowers over the age of 75 who are nearing or post retirement age.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The requirements relating to lending beyond retirement age aim to protect consumers from carrying unaffordable debt into retirement. Where older consumers have the means to support repayments (as many do through employment, pensions, or other sources of income such as investments) the rules do not prevent them from accessing mortgages.

The Equalities Act (2010) allows financial services providers, including mortgage lenders, to use an individual’s age in designing, pricing and offering products. This includes allowing lenders to set age limits on customers to whom they will lend. The Government believes that it is important for financial services companies to be able to factor in a person’s age in their assessment of risk, pricing, and willingness to lend if there is evidence to justify the different treatment.However, the Government is clear that mortgage lenders should not discriminate against borrowers due to their age, if they are able to demonstrate they can repay their mortgage over the course of a term and based on their income. The Government has worked with industry to ensure that products are available for older borrowers including the introduction of the Retirement Interest Only (RIO) mortgage, and the availability of Lifetime Equity Release products.

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