When buying a home to live in you are entitled to claim a Principal Place of Residence concession whereby you pay stamp duty at a lesser rate. In order to qualify for this concession you must sign a declaration and in that declaration are one or two points which are often overlooked by buyers.
Firstly, you cannot “dispose” of the land or the residence, lease or otherwise grant exclusive possession of part or all of the property to another person if you are claiming the First Home or Principal Place of Residence concession. This also may include renting out a room within the home. There have been cases where a buyer, in order to help meet the mortgage payments has rented out a bedroom to a friend and that has been held to be “disposing” of part of the residence.
Secondly, to qualify for the stamp duty concession you must occupy the home within twelve (12) months of the settlement date. This time limit is strict, there is no way around it. The seller can continue to occupy the property after settlement provided they vacate the premises within six (6) months. If the property is tenanted at the time of purchase then the existing tenants can continue to occupy the property after the settlement date provided they vacate at the end of the term of their lease or within six (6) months of the settlement date, whichever is first to occur. It is important to note that the lease arrangement had to be in place prior to the settlement date and that it cannot be renewed or extended.
We had a case recently where a client failed to qualify because she didn’t take occupation within the time period and had to pay an additional $15,000 in stamp duty.
Be very careful when signing the Form 2.1 Declaration. Read it carefully and make sure you understand what you are signing and that you are going to be able to meet the criteria.