BUYING that first home can be an exciting experience but it’s important to understand that the First Home Owner’s Grant (FHOG) and the First Home Transfer Stamp Duty Concession have different requirements. If you fail to understand them you could face penalties and also may be required to pay back all or part of the money you received from the government.
For FHOG purposes you must move into the property as your principal residence within a year of the title registration date (established homes) or within one year of the final inspection date (new homes). For stamp duty purposes you must move in within one year of the transfer date.
You must live in the house for a continuous period of six months for FHOG purposes but for stamp duty purposes you are required to live in it for a continuous period of 12 months after moving in.
For FHOG purposes you can rent out the property before moving in provided you comply with the occupancy requirements. This is not allowed for stamp duty purposes, however the vendor or the vendor’s existing tenant may remain in possession for up to six months after the transfer date.
To qualify for the stamp duty concession you may not rent out the property after moving in. The FHOG rules do allow you to rent out one or more rooms provided the home remains your principal place of residence.
As you can see, different rules apply to both schemes which is why it is important to take advice if you intend to delay moving in or rent the property out. More information is available at the Office of State Revenue website, www.osr.qld.gov.au.
Noel Whittaker is a director of Whittaker Macnaught Pty Ltd. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. His email is email@example.com