Senior Citizens! Know About Reverse Mortgage

With the average life span of Indians on the rise and the mortality rate coming down drastically along with the advancement of modern medicine, the number of senior citizens in the population is on rise. Coupled with this, the disintegration of social fabric, the disappearance of joint family system and the fast pace of modern life, have left many senior citizens economically and socially vulnerable during the fag end of their lives.With the idea to provide some social security measure to senior citizens, the Finance Minister of India formally introduced the concept of Reverse Mortgage in India in the last Union Budget. National Housing Bank has issued certain guidelines in this regard. Many banks like State Bank of India have already introduced this concept.

As per this concept, the senior citizens who own a house can mortgage their property to a banker. The banker will make periodic payments (say monthly) to the borrower, during his life time. The borrower need not repay the loan amount during his life time. After the borrower’s death, the house property is sold and the loan amount together with the interest accumulated is recovered by the bank. If the heirs of the borrower can repay the loan together with interest thereon, then they can release the mortgage and inherit the house property.The scheme is available for senior citizens who are above 60 years of age. Married couples can jointly borrow under this scheme. The borrower shall use the property mortgaged as permanent primary residence. The amount of loan that the senior citizens can avail depends on factors like market value of the property, age of the borrower, rate of interest etc.

The loan amount may be periodic (monthly, ½ yearly) or it can be one lump-sum payment. Normally periodic payments are made for monthly maintenance of senior citizens, while lump-sum payments are made for special purposes like medical expenses, home improvement etc. The maximum period of loan is 15 years. Commercial properties are not eligible under this scheme.

The senior citizens are also given a “right of rescission”, ie, they can cancel the scheme availed within 3 business days of finalizing the scheme. In such cases, the entire loan amount will have to be paid by the senior citizens within this 3 days period.

The loan amount will became due and payable when the last surviving borrower dies or intends to sell the home or when the borrower permanently moves out of the home. The borrower has the right to prepay the loan at any time during the loan tenor, which shall not carry any penalty or charge.