4.6.3.30 Defining the Principal Home

Summary

This topic discusses:

  • the general definition of an income support recipient's principal home,
  • when a self-contained living area is part of the principal home,
  • a income support recipient's principal home when they own more than one home, and
  • a income support recipient's principal home when they have an interest (1.1.I.185) in more than one home.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A Principal home

General definition

The principal home is generally the home in which the single income support recipient or couple (1.1.M.120) lives for the greatest amount of time each year. The principal home includes an area of adjacent land (4.6.8.10) on the same title document (4.6.8.20).

Self-contained living areas

If a home includes a self-contained living area this area MAY NOT be defined as part of the income support recipient's principal home, as shown in the following table.

Explanation: A self-contained living area is an area with private or separate sleeping, cooking and bathroom facilities.

IF the self-contained living area is… THEN the area is…
vacant, part of the income support recipient's principal home.
let to a near relative (1.1.N.20), part of the income support recipient's principal home.
let to a person other than a near relative, NOT part of the income support recipient's principal home.

If the value of the area is likely to affect payment rate a delegate MUST obtain a valuation from a professionally qualified valuer appointed by Centrelink.

Note: Income received in these situations may or may not be assessed (4.3.8).

Income support recipient owns more than one home

If an income support recipient, or their partner (1.1.P.85), has more than one home:

  • their principal home is the one in which they spend the greatest amount of time, UNLESS
  • they spend the same amount of time in each of them, in which case the most expensive home is defined as the principal home.

The property which is NOT the principal home IS assessed as an asset even when the income support recipient or their partner are living in the property.

If the income support recipient or their partner spends a considerable amount of time in a home they do NOT own, the home they own is the principal home.

Example: The income support recipient, or their partner, may live in the home that they own for 5 months a year and live the rest of the year in holiday rental accommodation. The home they own remains their principal home.

Where an income support recipient is absent from their principal home refer to the rules about vacation of property (4.6.3.60).

Income support recipient has an interest in more than one home

An income support recipient's life interest, reversionary interest, remainder interest or contingent interest in other property does NOT affect the definition of the recipient's principal home.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.2.10 General provisions for exempt assets, 4.6.5.30 Assessing Property, Real Estate & Unit Trusts

Last reviewed: 11 August 2014