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The responsibility for maintaining a DSH house in a state of good order and repair, as well as maintaining monthly DSH instalments, rests with the borrower. However, it is recognised that either or both, can, at times, be beyond the financial resources of some borrowers. The legislation therefore makes provision for assistance with essential repairs or instalment relief, in cases where borrowers are financially incapable of effecting repairs which are essential for the preservation of the property, or maintaining normal monthly instalments. It does not transfer responsibility for maintenance or instalment payments from the borrower to the Commonwealth. That responsibility remains with the borrower.
A widow or widower or dependent parent of an eligible person, who is experiencing difficulty maintaining payment of rates, taxes, charges or other outgoings associated with the DSH house, may also be considered for assistance.
Assignment of the initial or further advance does not prevent the assignor from applying for widow/widower advances or advances for essential repairs. However, instalment relief is not available for assignors or assignees. As for initial or further advances, assignors seeking these advances will need to apply for both certificates of entitlement and assignment.
The legislation empowers the Secretary to issue a certificate of entitlement:
- to existing borrowers;
- for assistance necessary to effect essential repairs to the DSH house, or
- to reduce a DSH subsidy instalment,
- to existing DSH borrowers who are widows, widowers, and, in certain circumstances, to widowed parents of eligible persons for payment of;
- land/water rates,
- units maintenance levy,
- home insurance premium, or
- repairs to keep the buildings, fences, fixtures and other improvement in good order and repair,
if the borrower is suffering serious financial hardship, or in some instances financial hardship, for the purposes of the legislation.
In considering if a borrower is suffering from financial hardship or serious financial hardship, a delegate needs to consider each case in line with the legislation and the Hardship Guidelines, (as approved by the Minister). (Please see Entitlement GO Chapter 6).