Thursday, 13 July 2017

Can A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Buy or Own Property in India?

Every year, thousands of Indians migrate to other countries. The shift happens mainly due to a good job or a business opportunity. They may even get a permanent residency (PR) in the country they have moved to. Though NRIs live outside the country, they are still citizens of India. 

Here are types of properties you can own as NRI:

1. NRIs can only invest in certain properties:

NRIs are generally allowed to purchase immovable properties in India. However, you can only buy a residential property or commercial property in the country. You cannot buy a farmhouse, agricultural land or plantation property in India. You may have to seek special permission from the RBI if you need to make those purchases. Person Of Indian Origin (PIO) are also allowed to buy property in India and have the same rights as NRIs. There is no restriction to the number of residential or commercial property you can buy as an NRI.

2. NRIs can avail home loans to buy property in India:

Lenders can provide loans to NRIs planning to buy residential property in Delhi, Mumbai or any other city in the country. The RBI has permitted banks and other financial institutions to sanction home loans to NRIs. The loan will be disbursed in Indian currency and has to be repaid using the same currency. The loan, however, will be disbursed to the seller or the property developer's account.

3. NRIs can use PoA to complete property purchases:

If you cannot personally come and complete a property purchase due to any constraints, you can use your PoA (Power of Attorney) to finish the buying process. You can either give your PoA to a friend or a relative and they can help you buy the property in India. The PoA can be general or specific as to what rights your representative holds.
4. NRIs can purchase property jointly with another NRI:
NRIs are allowed to purchase any property on their own, or jointly with another NRI. However, you cannot purchase a property jointly with a resident Indian notwithstanding the contribution of the latter towards the purchase.  

5. NRIs can continue to own previously acquired property:
You are allowed to own any agricultural land, farm house or plantation property that you owned before you became an NRI. You can also let out the property, and taxes must be paid on the rent earned. However, you are not allowed to own any of the above after you become an NRI. 

6. NRIs can gift or sell an immovable property:
You are allowed to gift or sell an immovable property to any NRI or person residing in India. As an NRI, you can also gift or transfer any property excluding agricultural property, plantation property or farmhouses to a fellow NRI.

NRIs and PIOs both have certain rights when it comes to buying properties in India. However, they have to get special approval from the RBI if they want to buy an agricultural property. This will be considered by the RBI on a case to case basis. As per the income tax laws, an NRI can own as many residential or commercial properties as well.

Additional Reads
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Most Expensive Homes of Indian Billionaires
Benefits of buying home at your wife's name


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