FAQ's on Properties Investment
  1. Do NRI's require permission of Reserve Bank to acquire immovable property in India?
  2. No. NRI's do not require any permission to acquire any immovable property in India other than agricultural / plantation property or a farm house.

  3. Can corporate bodies use residential properties as office space?
  4. It is illegal to put residential properties to commercial use. However service-based industries are allowed to operate from residential areas, on the condition that they will vacate the property if any complaint is received from other residential owners.

  5. Before purchasing property owned by a company, what aspects should be considered?
  6. Before purchasing property from a company, it is necessary to verify with the Registrar of Companies that the property is not mortgaged or is not being used as a security against a loan, otherwise it is not considered a freehold property.

  7. Do PIO's require permission of Reserve Bank to purchase immovable property in India for their residential use?
  8. Reserve Bank has granted general permission to foreign citizens of Indian origin, whether resident in India or abroad, to purchase immovable property other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property, in India. They are, therefore, not required to obtain separate permission of Reserve Bank or file any declaration.

  9. In what manner should the purchase consideration for the immovable property be paid by PIO's under the general permission?
  10. The purchase consideration should be met either out of inward remittances in foreign exchange through normal banking channels or out of funds from any non-resident accounts maintained with banks in India.

  11. Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?
  12. Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for sale of such property. However, where another foreign citizen of Indian origin purchases the property, funds towards the purchase consideration should either be remitted to India or paid out of balances in non-resident accounts maintained with banks in India.

  13. Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?
  14. In the event of sale of immovable property other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property in India by a NRI or PIO, the authorised dealer may allow repatriation of the sale proceeds outside India, provided all the following conditions are satisfied: - The immovable property was acquired by the seller in accordance with the provisions of the Exchange Control Rules/Regulations/Law in force at the time of acquisition, or the provisions of the Regulations framed under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999; In case of residential property, the repatriation of sale proceeds is restricted to not more than two such properties.

  15. What other facilities are available for repatriation?
  16. Authorised dealers can allow remittance up to USD 1 million for any purpose, per calendar year from balances in NRO accounts subject to payment of applicable taxes. The limit of USD 1 million per year includes sale proceeds of immovable properties acquired by the NRI/PIO's while they were resident in India and held for a period of 10 years and above. In case the property is sold after being held for less than 10 years, remittance can be made if the sale proceeds were held for the balance period in NRO account or in any other eligible instruments.

  17. Can PIO's acquire or dispose of immovable property by way of gift?
  18. Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission to foreign citizens of Indian origin to acquire or dispose of immovable properties other than agricultural land/farmhouse/plantation property by way of gift from or to an Indian citizen, NRI or PIO.

  19. Can NRI's/PIO's rent out the properties (residential/commercial) if not required for immediate use?
  20. Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for letting out any immovable property in India. The rental income or proceeds of any investment of such income is eligible for repatriation

  21. Can NRIs obtain loans for acquisition of a house/flat for residential purpose from financial institutions providing housing finance?
  22. Reserve Bank has granted general permission to certain financial institutions providing housing finance e.g. HDFC, LIC Housing Finance Ltd., etc., to grant housing loans to NRI's for acquisition of a house/flat for self-occupation subject to certain conditions. The purpose of loan margin money and the quantum of loan will be at par with those applicable to housing loans to residents. Repayment of loan should be made within a period not exceeding 15 years out of inward remittances or out of funds held in the investor's NRE/FCNR/NRO Accounts.

  23. Can authorised dealers grant loans to NRIs for acquisition of a flat/house for residential purposes?
  24. Authorised dealers have been granted permission to grant loans to NRI's for acquisition of house/flat for self-occupation on their return to India subject to certain conditions. Repayment of the loan should be made within a period not exceeding 15 years out of inward remittance through banking channels or out of funds held in the investors' NRE/FCNR/NRO accounts.

  25. Can authorised dealers grant housing loan to NRI's where he is a principal borrower with his resident close relative as a co-applicant / guarantor or where the land is owned jointly by such NRI borrower with his resident close relative?
  26. Yes. Such housing loans availed in rupees can also be repaid by the close relatives in India of the borrower.

  27. What are the guidelines for acquisition of agricultural land / plantation property / farmhouse by NRIs and foreign citizens of Indian origin?
  28. All requests for acquisition of agricultural land / plantation property / farm house by any person resident outside India may be made to The Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Exchange Control Department, Foreign Investment Division (III), Mumbai 400 001.For further information please visit the FAQ Section of http://www.rbi.org.in

    Conservative estimate of appreciation on an investment in property in Chennai is about 20% p.a. NRIs start to gain by investing in Real Estate when compared to the investments on the NRNR / FCNR deposits.

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