The Secretary may issue a certificate of entitlement on an advance for essential repairs.


Before issuing a certificate of entitlement, the Secretary must be satisfied that it would cause serious financial hardship to the person if he or she were to bear the cost of essential repairs to keep the buildings, fences, fixtures and other improvements on the land in good order and repair.


The Secretary may have regard to any guidelines approved by the Minister when deciding whether a person is suffering serious financial hardship for these purposes.


Consideration should be given to the general condition of the property or to the practicability of approving further assistance to acquiring another property using the portability option if the house has reached the end of its economic life, or it is otherwise uneconomical to carry out repairs.


Assistance to complete essential repairs is only available where the applicant has already received the maximum advance of $25,000.  Where the maximum assistance has not been provided and the loan remains current, it might be possible for the repairs to be completed by way of assistance with an Additional Advance (Entitlement GO 3.4 refers),  without the need for the applicant to satisfy the Serious Financial Hardship Guidelines.  The interest rates for Additional Advances and Advances for Essential Repairs are identical so there is no disadvantage for the applicant in that regard.  In addition, if the applicant ever needed further assistance at some future time, he/she would benefit from having the amount of any Additional Advance included in the limit available, whereas any advance for Essential Repairs would be excluded.


The borrower will be expected to make his/her own arrangements to have the repairs effected.  The presence of an assigned initial or further advance does not prevent the approval of an application for an advance for essential repairs which may also be assigned.