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7.4.5 Occupation of a Dwelling-house - Essential Repairs/Instalment Relief Cases

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Paragraph 18(1)(f) of the Act specifies that the dwelling-house or retirement village accommodation in respect of which the advance is payable is intended to be used by the person as a home for the person and any dependants of the person.  Sub-section 18(6) restricts this to advances other than widow/widower advances or advances for essential repairs.  Instalment relief is not an advance under the Act.

Although it is not specified in the Act, it is the intention that a person be in occupation of the property to obtain a widow/widower advance, an advance for essential repairs or instalment relief. This intention recognises the broad objective of maintaining people in their homes for as long as possible and that the general intention of the Scheme is to provide a home for the eligible person and his/her dependants in which to live.

Notwithstanding this, there would be circumstances where it may not be possible for the applicant to be in occupation, but where it would be appropriate for DSH to provide assistance.  Two examples are:-

where the person is in a nursing home but cannot afford to pay for repairs, rates, instalments etc on the DSH property, due to the fees payable to the nursing home.  Assuming the home remained untenanted in anticipation of the applicant returning on possible discharge from the nursing home, it would be reasonable to favourably consider the application;

and

where the person's house is in such a bad state of repair that it is dangerous for him/her to remain in the property.  As the person may be required to pay rent in the alternative accommodation, it would be appropriate for DSH to provide instalment relief in relation to the DSH house, until it is repaired.

While the intention is that the applicant be in occupation of the DSH house, delegates have a discretion to make decisions based on the merits of each particular case.