Reversing the Trend Reverse Mortgages for Co-ops?

Home equity conversion mortgages account for around 90 percent of all reverse mortgages originated in the U.S. (iStock).

There has been a recent push by federal, state and local legislators to get reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) approved for New York cooperatives.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not as of yet acted to expand the reverse mortgage program to co-ops, even after 16 years of efforts from the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC) and the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC), both organizations which have been lobbying for legislation in this regard.

In May, New York State Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-34) introduced S. 07844 and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-81) proposed A.10246 as its companion bill. Klein’s and Dinowitz’s legislation seek to amend the state’s real property law in order to authorize proprietary reverse mortgages in New York for seniors age 70 and older.

One of the problems in gaining approval for co-ops, according to CNYC executive director Mary Ann Rothman, is that co-ops are not real property as condos are. Shareholders own shares in a corporation that owns the building, so there is nothing to collateralize for the real estate in a co-op, she explained.

According to Reverse Mortgage Daily, a blog for the reverse mortgage industry, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently met with HUD Secretary Julián Castro to ask about the federal agency taking steps to allow co-op owners to participate in the HECM program. He called on HUD to pass regulations to expand access to seniors living in cooperative housing.


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