09/01/2013 - 12:05

Tribunal widens eligibility for first home buyer grant

09/01/2013 - 12:05

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Tribunal widens eligibility for first home buyer grant

First home buyers who jointly purchase a property with a private company are still eligible for the state government’s First Home Owners Grant, in light of a ruling by the State Administrative Tribunal last Tuesday.

The tribunal ruled in favour of Tuart Hill home buyer Laura Benzion’s application for the $7,000 grant, despite the fact that her property was purchased jointly with Perth-based company Australian Property Investment Exchange Pty Ltd.

The Commissioner of State Revenue had previously ruled that the application was invalid as the FHOG Act stipulates that all interested parties must apply for the grant and any applicant must be a “natural person”, as opposed to a company. However, the SAT upheld Ms Benzion’s objection that APIE had no right to occupy the property under their agreement and should therefore not be defined as an interested party.

A spokesperson for the Commissioner of State Revenue told WA Business News his office was examining the judgment in the Benzion case. The relevant legislation provides 28 days from the date the tribunal’s decision is made in which to determine whether to seek leave to appeal.

Under the Australian Property Investment Exchange scheme, customers purchase a share of between 50 and 90 per cent of a property, with APIE or an external investor purchasing the remaining share as tenants in common. Customers then pay the mortgage on the portion of the property that they own, while paying rent on the remaining portion.

The Australian Property Investment Exchange website advises potential property co-owners that they “will not be eligible” for the First Home Owners Grant under the arrangement.

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