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MCOB 4.11 Sale and rent back: advising and selling standards

Initial disclosure requirements

MCOB 4.11.1RRP
  1. (1) 1

    A regulated sale and rent back firm, on first making contact with a potential SRB agreement seller for whom it might reasonably be expected to carry on any regulated sale and rent back activity, must make the following disclosures to him, both orally and in writing:

    1. (a)

      the service the firm is offering the customer, making it clear whether the firm will be acting as a SRB agreement provider, a SRB adviser or a SRB arranger and the particular regulated sale and rent back activities for which the firm has a Part IV permission;

    2. (b)

      if the firm is acting as an intermediary, whether it deals with a single or a range of SRB agreement providers and whether or not those providers are authorised under the Act; and

    3. (c)

      how much the firm will receive in connection with the transaction, whether by way of fees, commissions, charges, retentions or otherwise and whether any such sum will be payable out of the sale proceeds of the property, paid directly by the customer or provider or otherwise and whether or not any of these will be payable if the customer decides not to enter into a regulated sale and rent back agreement.

  2. (2)

    If the precise fees, commissions, charges, retentions or other sums in (1)(c) are not known in advance, the firm should estimate the amount likely to apply in respect of the transaction.

FSA consumer factsheet on sale and rent back

MCOB 4.11.2RRP
  1. (1)

    As soon as the customer expresses an interest in becoming a SRB agreement seller, a regulated sale and rent back firm must provide him with the FSA consumer factsheet on sale and rent back in a durable medium which may be accessed through www.fsa.gov.uk.

  2. (2)

    The firm on providing the FSA consumer factsheet in (1) to the customer must give him an oral explanation of it, so as to ensure that the customer fully understands its contents.

Affordability and appropriateness

MCOB 4.11.3RRP

A regulated sale and rent back firm must not permit a potential SRB agreement seller to become contractually committed to enter into a regulated sale and rent back agreement unless it has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that:

  1. (1)

    the customer can afford the payments he will be liable to make under the agreement; and

  2. (2)

    the proposed regulated sale and rent back agreement is appropriate to the needs, objectives and circumstances of the customer.

MCOB 4.11.4ERP
  1. (1)

    In assessing whether a customer can afford to enter into a particular regulated sale and rent back agreement, a firm should use the following information:

    1. (a)

      the rental payments that will be due under the tenancy agreement which confers the right of the customer (or trust beneficiary or related party) to continue residing in the property, stress tested to take account of possible future rental increases during the fixed term of the tenancy agreement by reference to the circumstances in which the agreement permits increases or changes to the initial rent;

    2. (b)

      adequate information, obtained from the customer to establish his income and expenditure calculated on a monthly basis, and any other resources that he has available, and verified by the firm using evidence provided by the customer;

    3. (c)

      the customer's net disposable income, which a firm should establish using the information referred to in (b);

    4. (d)

      the customer's entitlement to means-tested benefits and housing benefits; and

    5. (e)

      the effect of any likely future change to the customer's income, expenditure or resources during the period of the regulated sale and rent back agreement.

  2. (2)

    The firm should explain to the customer that it will base its assessment on whether he can afford to enter into the particular regulated sale and rent back agreement on the information he provides to the firm about his income, expenditure and resources.

  3. (3)

    In assessing affordability under (1) the firm:

    1. (a)

      must not rely to a material extent on the capital of, or income from, any lump sum the customer receives which represents the net sale proceeds of the property; and

    2. (b)

      must disregard any discount or any future sum that may be payable to the customer under the terms of the regulated sale and rent back agreement.

  4. (4)

    Contravention of (1), (2) or (3) may be relied upon as tending to show contravention of MCOB 4.11.3R (1).

MCOB 4.11.5E
  1. (1)

    In assessing whether a particular regulated sale and rent back agreement is appropriate to the needs, objectives and circumstances of a potential SRB agreement seller, a firm should have due regard to the following:

    1. (a)

      whether the benefits to the customer in entering into the proposed regulated sale and rent back agreement outweigh any adverse effects it may have for him, including on his entitlement to means-tested benefits and housing benefits; and

    2. (b)

      the feasibility of the customer raising funds by alternative methods other than by a sale of his property.

  2. (2)

    Contravention of (1) may be relied upon as tending to show contravention of MCOB 4.11.3R (2).

MCOB 4.11.6GRP

In considering the customer's entitlement to the means-tested benefits and housing benefits for the affordability and appropriateness assessment, a firm may rely on information provided to it by the customer, provided it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the customer has received advice from the appropriate HM Government department or other appropriate source of independent advice as to his position.

MCOB 4.11.7GRP
  1. (1)

    A consideration of the customer's benefits position will need to focus on whether, by entering into the proposed regulated sale and rent back agreement, his entitlement to means-tested benefit will be adversely affected because of his receipt of the net proceeds of sale (if any) of the property. The customer's possible loss of entitlement to claim housing benefit should also be assessed. Where a firm has insufficient knowledge of means-tested and housing benefits to reach a conclusion on this, it should advise the customer to contact the appropriate HM Government department or other appropriate source of independent advice to establish the position. The firm should then wait for the customer to obtain the relevant information before proceeding with its assessment.

  2. (2)

    The firm should consider whether a customer in arrears under his regulated mortgage contract or home purchase plan has contacted his mortgage lender or home purchase provider to discuss possible forbearance options that may be available. Other possible alternative methods of raising funds will include the availability of local authority or other government rescue schemes that might apply in the customer's circumstances.

  3. (3)

    Firms are reminded that under MCOB 4.11.2R they are required to provide the customer with the FSA consumer factsheet on sale and rent back and give him an oral explanation of its contents. The FSA expects this to be done in the course of a face-to-face meeting. Firms will be expected in the course of this discussion with the customer to explain alternative options that may be available to him, such as liaising with his mortgage lender or home purchase provider to negotiate a forbearance strategy or approaching his local authority about the availability of mortgage rescue schemes.

Record keeping

MCOB 4.11.8RRP
  1. (1)

    A firm must make and retain a record of the customer information that has been provided to it, including that relating to:

    1. (a)

      the customer's income, expenditure and other resources that it has obtained from him for the purpose of assessing affordability, together with the stress testing of the rental payments;

    2. (b)

      the customer's needs, objectives and individual circumstances that it has obtained from him for the purpose of assessing appropriateness; and

    3. (c)

      the customer's entitlement to means-tested benefits and housing benefits, including any evidence provided by the customer, that it has obtained from him for the affordability and appropriateness assessment;

    and which explains why the firm concluded that the customer could afford, and why it was appropriate for him, to enter into the proposed regulated sale and rent back agreement.

  2. (2)

    The record in (1) must be retained for a minimum of five years from the date on which the assessment of affordability and appropriatenesswas made, or one year after the end of the fixed term of the tenancy agreement under the regulated sale and rent back agreement, if later.

Reliance on another firm

MCOB 4.11.9RRP

A firm need not comply with the requirements imposed on a regulated sale and rent back firm in this section to the extent that it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that another firm has already done so.

MCOB 4.11.10GRP

The effect of MCOB 4.11.9R is that a SRB agreement provider is expected to carry out its own assessments of affordability and appropriatenessin relation to a particular regulated sale and rent back agreement, unless it is reasonable for it to rely on another firm to have done so in relation to a particular transaction.