Guidelines and Eligibility requirements
HomeBuilder is a Commonwealth grants program administered by the ACT Revenue Office (ACTRO). HomeBuilder provides eligible owner occupiers with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home. A new home is one that has not previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence (e.g. a spec build) and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020.
Prospective applicants should read the information on the HomeBuilder Grant on the Commonwealth Treasury's website, including the Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions, to determine their eligibility before applying: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/homebuilder.
On 4 June 2020, the Australian Government announced HomeBuilder to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home.
While the eligible contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 (inclusive), construction need not commence prior to 31 December 2020. However, it must commence within three months of the contract date and construction cannot have commenced before 4 June 2020.
The Australian Government HomeBuilder Grant is subject to the provisions of the National Partnership Agreement between the ACT Government and Australian Government.
In the ACT, applying for the Grant is a two-part application process:
Part A: Registration
This registration (available here) must be completed and lodged by 31 December 2020 for your application to be considered. Completing the Part A form does not in any way constitute eligibility for the Grant.
Part B: Detailed Application
A comprehensive application form (available here) is the second part of your application. This form requires detailed information about you, your builder, type of construction, as well as detailed supporting documentation. Part B applications, including all supporting documents, must be received by no later than 31 October 2022.
We will advise you whether your application has been approved or declined. Generally, this will be within 15 working days of a complete application being received.
HomeBuilder is available to individual applicants and couples who are, or will be, registered as the owner on the certificate of title of the property. Each applicant must be:
- a natural person (not a company or trust),
- aged 18 years or older at the date of the contract, and
- an Australian citizen at the date of application.
When you must be registered on the certificate of title of the property depends on the type of contract you enter into:
- For contracts to build, you must be registered on title no later than the laying of foundations and the first progress payment is made.
- For substantial renovations, you must be registered on the title at the time that you enter into the contract for renovation works.
- For off-the-plan/new homes, you must be registered on the title when the building is completed, and you are entitled to take possession of the home.
Applicant(s) must be below one of the following two income caps:
- for an individual, $125,000 in taxable income as shown on your 2018-19 or 2019-20 Notice of Assessment as issued by the Australian Taxation Office, or
- for a couple, $200,000 in taxable income as shown on your 2018-19 or 2019-20 Notices of Assessment as issued by the Australian Taxation Office.
A couple is considered as two people that are legally married, in a registered domestic relationship, or living as a couple on a genuine domestic basis, excluding people related to each other, e.g. siblings.
All parties listed on the title of the property are required to apply for the HomeBuilder Grant. If more than one person is listed on the title as the registered proprietors, they must jointly apply for the HomeBuilder grant as a couple. Each applicant must meet all the eligibility criteria in relation to age, citizenship, income and living in the property as their principal place of residence. A property is only eligible for one HomeBuilder grant.
Each applicant must not have previously received the HomeBuilder Grant for any property owned individually or jointly with another person in any Australian State or Territory of the Commonwealth.
Each applicant must live in the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least 6 months immediately on completion of construction, renovation or settlement.
Investment properties are excluded from HomeBuilder.
The home must be:
- located in the ACT,
- fixed to your land,
- suitable as a place of residence, and
- owned, or will be owned, by you.
HomeBuilder is available for one of the following contracts signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 (inclusive):
- A comprehensive home building contract to build a new home as your principal place of residence where the property value (house and land) does not exceed $750,000 (inclusive of GST).
- A contract to substantially renovate your principal place of residence where the renovation contract is between $150,000 and $750,000 (inclusive of GST), and where the value of your existing house and land does not exceed $1.5 million. If you own a property (house and land) and demolish the house to rebuild, these will be treated as a substantial renovation, subject to the same values.
- A contract to purchase an off-the-plan home/new home as your principal place of residence where the contract price does not exceed $750,000 (inclusive of GST) and construction had not commenced prior to 4 June 2020.
In all cases, construction cannot have commenced before 4 June 2020.
Construction must be undertaken by a building service contractor who is licenced in the ACT.
Owner-builders are not eligible for HomeBuilder. An owner-builder means the person who is the registered or licensed builder and who takes legal responsibility for domestic building work carried out on their own land/property. Owner-builders therefore do not enter into an eligible contract under HomeBuilder.
For contracts to purchase an off-the-plan home/new home, construction can have commenced prior to the date of the sales contract, however not before 4 June 2020. You must also be registered on the certificate of title as the owner of the property by no later than 31 October 2022.
In negotiating the contract, the parties must deal with each other at arm’s length. This means the contract must be made by two parties freely and independently of each other and without some special relationship, such as being a relative. The terms of the contract should be commercially reasonable, and the contract price should not be inflated compared to the fair market price.
If you have entered into a contract on or after 4 June 2020 that replaces a contract made prior to 4 June 2020 to build the same or substantially similar home, you may not be eligible to receive the HomeBuilder Grant.
Construction must commence within three (3) months of the contract date. Where commencement is delayed due to unforeseen factors outside the control of the parties to the contract, a maximum extension of an additional three (3) months may be provided.
Commence construction means substantial earthworks, excavations, demolition and physical building work.
Preparatory works such as site clearing, fencing, markings, delivery of building products will not be considered sufficient to meet the construction requirement.
Where commencement is delayed due to unforeseen factors outside the control of the parties to the contract, the applicant(s) can request a maximum extension of up to an additional three (3) months by lodging a statement with supporting evidence for the Commissioner of ACT Revenue to consider.
On application, the Commissioner may consider exercising discretion to grant the extension in situations such as, but not limited to:
- delays in obtaining building approvals,
- difficulties in obtaining construction materials and/or sub-contractors,
- inclement weather, where the disruption is substantial,
- health problems relating to, or the death of, a person critical to the commencement of the project,
- prolonged industrial disputes, and
- natural disasters.
The Commissioner is unlikely to exercise discretion in situations such as, but not limited to:
- Where an applicant does not undertake appropriate due diligence when entering into a contract, or makes deliberate and informed choices which make them ineligible without the exercise of the Commissioner’s discretion.
- Where delay results from the builder contracting to undertake more work than they could be reasonably expected to complete in the relevant timeframe.
- Where construction is delayed because the land developer has set pre-development sales targets and insufficient blocks have been pre-sold in a subdivision.
To apply for the three-month extension, please email your supporting arguments along with your name and reference number to email@example.com
Eligible substantial renovations
For the purposes of HomeBuilder, substantial renovations can be either:
- substantially altering the existing dwelling, or
- demolishing your home and building a new home on the land.
To be considered substantial, the renovation does not need to involve the removal or replacement of foundations, external walls, interior supporting walls, floors, roof or staircases. However, it should improve the accessibility, safety or liveability of the property.
Examples of works that would not qualify include:
- Stand-alone granny flats, swimming pools, tennis courts, and structures not connected to the building such as outdoor spas, saunas, sheds or stand-alone garages.
HomeBuilder will be paid once the ACT Revenue Office is satisfied that you meet all of the eligibility criteria. The timing of the payment of the Grant will depend on whether your application relates to:
- A new build – the Grant will be paid after foundations have been laid and the first progress payment (of at least $150,000) has been made to the builder.
- A substantial renovation – the Grant will be paid after construction has commenced and evidence is submitted showing payments of at least $150,000 of the contract price have been made to the builder.
- An off-the-plan home/new home contract – the Grant will be paid after evidence is submitted showing that the property has been registered in your name on the certificate of title. You must be registered on the certificate of title as the owner of the property by no later than 31 October 2022.
Homebuilder will be paid into your nominated account when all eligibility criteria have been met and all supporting documentation provided. This account must be an Australian cheque, savings or home loan account.
To qualify for HomeBuilder, each applicant must:
- Retain ownership of the property and occupy it as your principal place of residence for a continuous period of at least six (6) months.
- Commence the above period of occupation immediately upon completion of construction, renovation or settlement.
A principal place of residence is considered to be the home you primarily reside in.
Where an applicant was a member of the permanent forces of the Australian Defence Force and the applicant was enrolled on the ACT electoral roll at the date of the eligible HomeBuilder contract, then the applicant is exempt from the residence requirement.
To receive the exemption, you must provide a document issued by the Australian Defence Force clearly showing your name and that you are a member of the permanent forces at the date of the eligible HomeBuilder contract.
An exemption will not be granted if the document is not provided.
What should I do if I cannot meet the above residency requirements?
You must notify the ACT Revenue Office and repay the HomeBuilder Grant within 14 days of the date you become aware you cannot meet the residency requirement.
The ACT Revenue Office may require that applicants provide information to verify that they have met the residence requirement.
Applicants should keep appropriate records to demonstrate the grant address was used as the principal place of residence.
If you have difficulties in meeting the residency requirement, please contact us to discuss your situation.
What can I do if my application is not approved?
If your HomeBuilder Grant application is declined and you do not agree with the decision, you may apply to the Commissioner of ACT revenue for a reconsideration.
A reconsideration application must be lodged within 60 days of the date of the letter advising you of the decision and include the reasons why you believe the decision is incorrect. Reconsiderations cannot be made on the grounds of perceived fairness but should focus on the facts as to why you consider the decision is wrong having regard to the HomeBuilder eligibility criteria.
To apply for a reconsideration of your application, please email your supporting arguments along with your name and reference number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACT Revenue Office may audit HomeBuilder applications for compliance with the eligibility and residency criteria. Should we contact you during an audit, it is a condition of receiving HomeBuilder that you must provide all information requested.
You must advise us within 14 days if you cease to use the property as your principal place of residence.
You may be required to repay HomeBuilder if:
- You do not provide all the information requested by us during an investigation.
- You provide false or misleading information to us.
- We find you should not have received the HomeBuilder or you did not meet the principal place of residence requirement.
Each person whose name is or will be on the certificate of title must be an applicant for the grant.
The HomeBuilder Grant is only available to individual applicants and couples. If you are the only person listed on the certificate of title as the owner of the property, you must apply as an individual applicant. If there is more than one person listed on the certificate of title, they must apply jointly as a couple, provided they meet the definition of a couple in relevant state or territory.
This means the contract must be made by two parties acting freely and independently of each other, and without offering favour as a result of some special relationship, such as being related to one another. The terms of the contract should be commercially reasonable, and the contract price should not be inflated compared to the fair market price.
Commencement of construction
Substantial earthworks, excavations, demolition and physical building work.
Preparatory works such as site clearing, fencing, markings, delivery of building products will not be considered sufficient to meet the commence construction requirement.
Two people that are legally married, in a registered domestic relationship, or living as a couple on a genuine domestic basis, excluding people related to each other, i.e. siblings.
Contract to build
A comprehensive building contract where a builder agrees to build a home, from commencement to completion of construction so that it is ready for occupation.
$125,000 per annum for an individual or $200,000 per annum for a couple based on either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 taxable income.
A contract for the purchase of a home that has not previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020.
A contract for the purchase of a home on a proposed lot in an unregistered plan of a subdivision of land, i.e. the purchase of a unit before it is built or before the units plan is registered, and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020.
The person or person(s) listed on the certificate of title of the property.
A person who is the registered or licensed builder and who takes legal responsibility for domestic building work carried out on their own land/property.
A person is a partner of another if they are in a registered domestic relationship or living as a couple on a genuine domestic basis.
Principal place of residence
The home you primarily reside in.
The renovation substantially alters the existing dwelling and improves the accessibility or safety or liveability of the property. If you own a property (house and land) and demolish the house down to rebuild this will be counted as a substantial renovation.
Examples of renovation work that does not qualify includes, standalone granny flats, swimming pools, tennis courts, and structures that are not connected to the property (i.e. outdoor spas, saunas, sheds or standalone garages).
The Australian Capital Territory, the body politic established by section 7 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) act 1988 (Cwlth) represented by the ACT Revenue Office.
In relation to a new build, off the plan home/new home the value of the property (i.e. house and land) cannot exceed $750,000 (inclusive of GST). In relation to a substantial renovation the value of the home (i.e. house and land) prior to renovation cannot exceed $1.5 million.
Last modified: 13 August 2020