7 CFR § 3550.107 - Ownership requirements.

§ 3550.107 Ownership requirements.

The applicant must have an acceptable ownership interest in the property as evidenced by one of the following:

(a) Full fee ownership. Acceptable full fee ownership is evidenced by a fully marketable title with a deed vesting a fee interest in the property to the applicant.

(b) Secure leasehold interest. A written lease is required. For loans, the unexpired portion of the lease must not be less than 2 years beyond the term of the promissory note. For grants, the remaining lease period must be at least 5 years. A leasehold for mutual help housing financed by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Indian lands requires no minimum lease period and constitutes acceptable ownership.

(c) Life estate interest. To be acceptable, a life estate interest must provide the applicant with rights of present possession, control, and beneficial use of the property. For secured loans, generally persons with any remainder interests must be signatories to the mortgage. All of the remainder interests need not be included in the mortgage to the extent that one or more of the persons holding remainder interests are not legally competent (and there is no representative who can legally consent to the mortgage), cannot be located, or if the remainder interests are divided among such a large number of people that it is not practical to obtain the signatures of all of the remainder interests. In such cases, the loan may not exceed the value of the property interests owned by the persons executing the mortgage.

(d) Undivided interest. An undivided interest is acceptable if there is no reason to believe that the applicant's position as an owner-occupant will be jeopardized as a result of the improvements to be made, and:

(1) In the case of unsecured loans or grants, if any co-owners living or planning to live in the dwelling sign the repayment agreement.

(2) In the case of a secured loan, when one or more of the co-owners are not legally competent (and there is no representative who can legally consent to the mortgage), cannot be located, or the ownership interests are divided among so large a number of co-owners that it is not practical for all of their interests to be mortgaged, their interests not exceeding 50 percent may be excluded from the security requirements. In such cases, the loan may not exceed the value of the property interests owned by the persons executing the mortgage.

(e) Possessory rights. Acceptable forms of ownership include possessory right on an American Indian reservation or State-owned land and the interest of an American Indian in land held severalty under trust patents or deeds containing restrictions against alienation, provided that land in trust or restricted status will remain in trust or restricted status.

(f) Land purchase contract. A land purchase contract is acceptable if the applicant is current on all payments, and there is a reasonable likelihood that the applicant will be able to continue meeting the financial obligations of the contract.

(g) Alternative evidence of ownership. If evidence, as described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section, is not available, RHS may accept any of the following as evidence of ownership:

(1) Records of the local taxing authority that show the applicant as owner and that demonstrate that real estate taxes for the property are paid by the applicant.

(2) Affidavits by others in the community stating that the applicant has occupied the property as the apparent owner for a period of not less than 10 years, and is generally believed to be the owner.

(3) Any instrument, whether or not recorded, which is commonly accepted as evidence of ownership.

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