4.6.8.60 Long term (20-year) Continuous Attachment to Land

Summary

This topic discusses:

  • what constitutes a long term (20-year) attachment,
  • absences from the principal home, and
  • documentary evidence required.

What constitutes a long term (20-year) attachment

The income support recipient must have a long term (20-year) continuous attachment to their principal home (and adjacent land) for the extended land use test to apply.

The long term (20-year) continuous attachment applies to income support recipients who:

  • currently own their principal home, AND
  • have lived in that principal home continuously for a period of 20 years immediately prior to the date of assessment, OR
  • have lived on the one property (including those held on multiple adjoining titles) continuously for a period of 20 years immediately prior to the date of assessment.

Explanation: An income support recipient can satisfy the long term (20-year) continuous attachment by one of the following:

  • Having owned and lived in their principal home on one title for 20 continuous years immediately prior to the date of assessment.
  • Having lived in their principal home on one title for 20 continuous years immediately prior to the date of assessment, but have owned the property for less than 20 years.
    • Example: A pensioner has lived in the farm home for more than 20 years. The transfer of control of the farm, including the home, to the farmer occurred 13 years ago. Given the farmer has owned the home for 13 years but has lived in the home for more than 20 years, the long-term continuous attachment has been met.
  • Having owned the property on one title for 20 years immediately prior to the date of assessment, and have continuously lived on that property, in more than one dwelling-house, for the last 20 years.
    • Example: A pensioner has owned his farm on one title for more than 20 years. The farmer lived in an old farmhouse for 50 years. The farmer built a new house on the farm 15 years ago. In this case the long-term continuous attachment has been met.
  • Having owned a property on multiple adjoining titles for 20 years immediately prior to the date of assessment, and have continuously lived on that property, in more than one dwelling-house, for the last 20 years.
    • Example: A pensioner has owned a farm on 3 adjoining titles (Blocks A, B and C) for more than 20 years. The farmer lived on Block A (100 hectares) for 10 years and built a new house on Block C (150 hectares), which he has lived in for 10 years. In this case the long-term continuous attachment has been met.

Note: For couples, either the qualifying income support recipient or their partner can own the principal home, however the qualifying income support recipient must have lived in the home for 20 continuous years immediately prior to the date of assessment.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(1) Principal home, section 11A(4)(c) the dwelling-house has been the person's principal home for 20 years or more continuously

Absences from the principal home

A continuous attachment is not broken by temporary absences allowed under the Act. Other absences would break the continuous attachment and the income support recipient would no longer have the extended land use test applied to them.

Example: A pensioner has owned a rural residential block for 20 years but lived in the city (where he rented) for 12 years. The pensioner has lived in the dwelling-house on the rural residential block for 8 years. The pensioner only has an 8-year continuous attachment to the principal home immediately prior to the date of assessment so does NOT meet the long-term attachment.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(4) To whom does the extended land use test apply?

Temporary vacation of property

SS Guide 4.6.8.30 states that if an income support recipient temporarily vacates the principal home, the home continues to be the principal home and the recipient continues to be defined as a homeowner, for up to 12 months.

Explanation: If an income support recipient temporarily vacated their principal home of a period up to 12 months this would NOT stop them from qualifying for the long-term continuous attachment under the extended land use test.

Example: A pensioner has owned the principal home for 20 years. During that time the person has left the home to undertake seasonal work, no longer than 12 months at a time, for a number of years. Given the pensioner was not vacant from their principal home for 12 months continuously, the 20-year attachment is satisfied.

Any period of absence from the principal home over a 12-month period means that the income support recipient does NOT meet the long-term continuous attachment.

Example: A pensioner has owned the principal home for 20 years, but has spent the last 3 years living in a house with a family member closer to town facilities. In this circumstance the 3-year absence from the property means that the person does NOT have a 20-year continuous attachment to the property.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(9) A residence of a person is to be taken to continue to be the person's principal home during…

Care situations

SS Guide 4.6.3.70 states that if an income support recipient vacates their principal home to enter into a care situation, the home continues to be exempt under the assets test for a period of 2 years.

Explanation: If a person left their principal home for the purpose of going into a care situation for a period of up to 2 years, then this would NOT stop them from qualifying from the long-term attachment under the extended land use test.

Example: A pensioner has owned their principal home for 20 years. During that time the person left the home to go into a care situation for 18 months, but has now returned to the home to live. Under this circumstance the 20-year continuous attachment is satisfied.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(8) Effect of absences from principal home

Documentary evidence required

The income support recipient will be required to provide some documentary evidence that they currently own the property. A copy of the title deed is required, which will show when the property was last transferred and the name of the current owner/s.

In certain states (New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland) the title deed does not include address details. A copy of a rates notice will be required to confirm the property address. This is because the deposit plan number on the title deed will be on the rates notice.

The income support recipient will be required to provide some supporting evidence that they have lived on the property for 20 years. Past Centrelink address details may indicate the person has lived on the property for 20 years. If this is not available a declaration from the income support recipient identifying the property has been the person's principal home continuously for the 20 years immediately prior to the date of assessment will be required.

Last reviewed: 6 February 2017