legislation

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Confused about government housing and construction grants?

The first home owners grant (FHOG) was famously of great assistance to rookie buyers in SA for some time, but the FHOG (for established homes) has now gone, potentially forever. There are still grants available but I am constantly asked how much or who is eligible, so hopefully I can help clarify the situation for some, and point everyone else in the right direction for clarification.

Firstly, RevenueSA administers these grants, so if you are still confused even after reading this, refer to their website HERE.

In short, the FHOG still exists, but only for new homes. If you are buying an existing home that has been lived in previously, unfortunately you’ve missed out. This opportunity closed at the end of June this year. The FHOG that DOES exist is $15,000 on offer for first time purchasers who are buying a home that has not previously been occupied or sold as a place of residence. Interestingly, there are circumstances where the government will consider a substantially renovated home to be “new” and as such will still offer the grant. This definition is a little more in depth and will not affect most people, but please feel free to contact me privately for an elaboration.

The housing construction grant (HCG) was $8500 on offer to any person or company purchasing or building a new home up to the value of $450,000, where the contract for that home had been signed prior to 31 December 2013. The home didn’t need to be finished prior to that date and the claim for the HCG can still be lodged up until 12 months after the completion of the eligibile transaction. The new home, in many cases, can be completed any time before 30 June 2015, so even though no purchasers will be newly eligible for this grant, you may be eligible to lodge a claim despite not realising it at the time.

The seniors housing grant (SHG) is a new grant that began on 1 July 2014, and is available to all people aged 60 years and over that will be using the house as their principle place of residence. The grant is capped at homes valued at $450,000 and begins phasing out for homes above $400,000. It is set to run until 30 June 2016.

For those that are interested in the off-the-plan stamp duty concession, it expired as a full concession in June this year, but continues as a partial concession until 30 June 2016. The calculation is not overly complex but is explained best on the RevenueSA website HERE.

Hopefully you’ve found out about some grants that you, a friend or family member might be able to take advantage of that you weren’t previously aware of!

If you need any more assistance I always welcome enquiries and would love to help.

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Recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

In 2013 a bill amendment was passed that makes dozens of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act South Australia. The bill came in operation in March 2014 and it has many property managers and landlords asking “How will the new residential tenancies act affect me?”

For our clients and landlords, nothing much changes. As your managers we will adjust to changes in relation to notice periods and ensure compliance in all cases. Access hours to properties will be restricted and a more uniform and stringent approach to notice of entry will be implemented (7-14 days).

One of the more frustrating changes for landlords and property managers alike is that instruction manuals will need to be provided for all appliances in rental properties, including old appliances. This could pose several issues for partly or fully furnished properties.

We will also need to treat abandoned goods and “bad tenants” more carefully. Strict rules regarding entering bad tenants onto databases will apply and accurate records of abandoned goods need to be kept, to avoid fines of up to $2,500.

We believe it is unfortunate that again the law will be further skewed in favour of the tenant and will not provide any extra protection for our landlords. BLOC Property would have liked to have seen better rules around pursuing rental arrears by shortening the period of time before we can issue notices to pursue the tenant, and the allowance for increased bond when pets are being allowed into properties.

You can view a summary of the changes listed by Consumer and Business Services BY CLICKING HERE.

 

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