Oregon Senate Votes to Save 1,700 Reverse Mortgage Borrowers—For Now

Oregon legislature seems to be making headway In the ongoing debate over how to resolve its senior tax deferral-reverse mortgage problem. The state’s senior tax deferral program went through a rule change in the fall that eliminated an estimated 5,000 seniors from the program; a third of which—or roughly 1,700 borrowers—were disqualified for having reverse mortgages. Previously, those borrowers were able to enjoy the benefits of both the tax deferral option as well as having a reverse mortgage.

The state Senate voted this week, after the House approved an adjustment to the new rule, under which the state will continue to allow property tax deferrals for reverse mortgage borrowers in the program for the next two years. If signed into law, it should buy time for those borrowers who would face losing their homes over the sudden program change.

Senior advocates say the fix is a Band-Aid, but at least it’s a temporary solution.

“These changes will help many of the seniors who are at risk of losing their homes,” said Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), Chair of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “What is most important today is that with the changes from 2011, and those approved today, we can keep this program running for some of our most vulnerable Oregonians.”

House Bill 4039 allows those who were disqualified because they have a reverse mortgage to remain in the program for two more years. The bill will go back to the House to approve changes made by the state Senate.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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