First Home Owner Grants (FHOG) have been a fixture of the national property market since 2000, but it now appears that the State Government is cracking down on people who are suspected of rorting the Scheme.
Property ownership is becoming increasingly out of reach for many Australians, especially first home buyers. But with the State government-funded FHOG Scheme, new hope of property ownership has been given to thousands of South Australians.
Lately, however, the number of investigations into suspected breaches of FHOG conditions seems to be on the rise, with more people seeking legal advice because they are being investigated, or have been found to be in breach of Grant conditions.
“FHOG is a one-off payment which is subject to eligibility requirements,” Marwa Shabbar said. Shabbar is a litigation and criminal lawyer at Websters Lawyers. She has noticed a recent increase in FHOG enquiries from people who are concerned about being penalised for breaches of the Scheme.
FHOG is available to first home buyers and the maximum grant is $15,000, although this amount can rise to as much as $25,000 when combined with other grants and concessions. But there are some fairly significant strings attached.
To be eligible for FHOG, applicants must satisfy a range of eligibility criteria relating to the home’s market value, no prior home ownership and ensuring that the home is the applicant’s main place of residence for at least 6 months after purchase.
If applicants are granted FHOG and are then found to have breached any requirement, they can be fined, prosecuted or even imprisoned.
“If you have received a notice from Revenue SA informing you that you’re under investigation, you should get legal advice immediately,” Shabbar said. “If a grant recipient is found to have made false or misleading statements on their application, they may be in serious trouble.”
“If it is true that the South Australian Government has stepped-up its investigations into rorts of the Scheme, it’s now more important than ever to understand your rights and obligations if you are being investigated,” she said.
For further information, visit http://www.websterslawyers.com.au/news/first-home-owner-grant/
Marwa Shabbar can be contacted for comment by emailing [email protected] or by telephoning Websters Lawyers during business hours on 8231 1363.
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