Spray foam has been mis-sold and poorly installed for years. Even worse, incorrectly installed spray foam insulation is leaving properties unmortgageable.
But how do equity release lenders view properties with spray foam?
If spray foam was installed in your loft when your property was built, you could get equity release. If not, you must remove your spray foam to get equity release. Afterwards, a RICS surveyor must be satisfied that your property is undamaged. Spray foam insulation in your walls is usually acceptable.
How to tell if your roof has spray foam insulation?
If spray foam insulation was applied in your loft, you could clearly see the foam. If installed correctly, the spray foam will be on the floor, replacing the glass fibre "fluff" insulation.
However, most properties with spray foam will have had it applied to the back of the roof.
In this case, the spray foam covering your roof tiles and felt can be seen. You may also see it over your rafters.
Incorrectly installed spray foam may look like this:
Why can't you get equity release with spray foam insulation?
Incorrectly installed spray foam insulation can cause significant damage to your roof.
Spray foam insulation can cause a moisture barrier. While this may sound like a good thing - keeping your roof watertight - but this can cause water to be held against your roof timbers.
Subsequently, the timbers holding your roof up will rot and weaken; over time, this can cause your roof to collapse!
There are also other examples where airflow has been restricted - potentially from spray foam being applied to air bricks.
This means that even if your roof does not leak, condensation, which usually evaporates, can be held within your loft space and rot the wood holding your roof up.
What types of spray foam are acceptable with equity release?
The only spray foam acceptable to equity release lenders is those applied when the property was constructed. The spray foam will likely be applied to the loft floor, replacing the glass fibre "fluff" insulation.
Suppose the foam insulation is applied to the back of the roof. In that case, an appropriate airflow gap will be left to allow your roof to "breathe" following building regulations.
What to do if you need equity release but have spray foam insulation?
If you have had spray foam installed in your loft, you may be concerned that you cannot get equity release. But don't worry; several options are available to get your property repaired and mortgagable.
1. Have your spray foam removed
To repair your roof and for an equity release application to be successful, you should use an appropriately skilled and qualified removal service.
Reclaiming wood or other materials coated with spray foam can create toxic dust, which can be very dangerous to those doing such work.
So don't try to remove it yourself; get in the professionals.
Special equity release product - LiveMore Property+
LiveMore allows you to have your spray foam removed after you receive your equity release funds. This can be a great option if you do not have funds readily available to pay for the spray foam to be removed before submitting an equity release application.
Your equity release advisor will explore this option with you compared to the broader market you would have available if you remove it upfront.
2. Make a claim
You can claim to recover the cost of installing and removing the spray foam insulation.
While you can make a claim yourself, I recommend using a specialist claims management company to act on your behalf.
They will be best placed to help you get the desired result to repair your house and allow equity release.
Our recommended partner for removing spray foam insulation
We recommend Hydrogard Legal Services as our trusted partner for removing spray foam insulation and making your claim.
You can contact them directly or speak with one of our equity release advisors, who will put you in touch with them once you have discussed your equity release needs.
They will arrange for one of their professional advisors and qualified roofers to visit your home and assess the spray foam insulation.
Hydrogard Legal Services use several vetted and selected contractors to undertake the spray foam removal service.
Subsequently, they will notify us of the removal and that you will be ready to progress your equity release.
Equity release after spray foam insulation has been removed
Once your spray foam insulation has been removed, we can apply for an equity release.
You must have had all traces of spray foam removed from your roof and have an appropriate certificate to prove that the roof is structurally sound.
You should discuss with your equity release advisor if you have spray foam installed or previously had it removed, as it can impact the plans available.
Can you get equity release if your walls are insulated with spray foam?
Usually, if your wall cavities have been filled with spray foam, you will be able to get equity release. However, if there has been damage to your walls, or air bricks, a surveyor may advise that your home is unmortgageable.
Damage from spray foam insulation installed in your walls will likely be evident with dampness within your property.
Please discuss this with your advisor, as they can place you with an equity release lender who does not charge any up-front valuation fees.
This will de-risk you from spending hundreds of pounds up-front, only to be declined due to dampness or damage.
If you have further questions, why not speak with one of our qualified advisors?
Call us on 0207 158 0881 or use our online form to book your FREE consultation.
While a qualified equity release advisor has written this guide, it is not intended to be used as financial nor legal advice and should not be relied upon.
To understand the full features and risks of an Equity Release plan, ask for a personalised illustration.
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