Pensioner hopeful of reclaiming home
A DISABLED pensioner who lost her home when the Lismore City Council sold it to cover unpaid rates is considering a reverse mortgage to get it back.
Christine Anderson, who is physically disabled and suffers profound clinical depression, lost her South Lismore house last month when the council sold it at auction.
The sale went ahead despite attempts by family friend David Slatter to negotiate with the council, and despite Ms Anderson having already begun a payment plan to clear her rates debt.
The person who bought the house has since offered to let Ms Anderson continue to stay in her home of more than 20 years and Mr Slatter yesterday said the purchaser had said he wanted out of the deal altogether.
Mr Slatter said the purchaser had believed the home was not occupied when he bought it at the council auction last month and would not have bought it at all if he had known it meant taking someone's home away from them.
“He sounded like a reasonable fellow,” Mr Slatter said. “He's just a guy from Queensland who wanted to invest in property down here.”
Mr Slatter said Ms Anderson was getting legal advice from a solicitor, who was also consulting a barrister, through the Community Legal Centre at Lismore.
He said Ms Anderson, who is also expecting a superannuation payout that would largely clear her debt to the council, was looking at several options, one of which was to take out a reverse mortgage to clear the rates bill, compensate the purchaser for his lost deposit if he cancelled the sale, and fix up the house.
Reverse mortgages are designed to take advantage of equity in a home, which in Ms Anderson's case would come close to the full value of the house.
If she took a reverse mortgage, Ms Anderson would not have to make repayments, but interest on the loan would accumulate for as long as she was in the house.