Centrelink Q&A: What are the rules around sharing property?

Barrie is buying a unit to share with his daughter and wants to know the pension implications.

Centrelink Q&A: What are the rules around sharing property?

Barrie is buying a unit to share with his daughter and wants to know the pension implications.


Q. Barrie
My wife and I are considering moving nearer to the city, purchasing a unit with my daughter and we will be tenants in common. We will live in the unit and pay a half a commercial rent to my daughter. This will be our permanent residence until we leave on death or go to an aged care facility.

Will this affect our pension? We are currently on the full pension and this move would use all the funds received from our present residence (which is a villa in a retirement village) and we will need to add an amount from our super fund as the purchase (say 50 per cent of the cost of the new unit) is more expensive than the value of our current residence.

A. I’m a little confused as to why you are paying rent money to your daughter if you own part of the property and are sharing it with her.

Regardless, as long as the property is your primary place of residence and you are selling your current property, the ownership structure should not affect your pension.

Your share of the property will still be exempt from the assets test in this situation.

Before you enter into a financial arrangement such as this, it may pay you to seek advice from a professional financial adviser, who will be able to make sure that the situation is definitely in your best interests.

Do you have a shared property arrangement with your family members? How is the situation working for you?

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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    2nd Nov 2020
    From my perspective, this seems to be a very unwise move. It raises a number of issues that require good advise from a professional. I too don't know why they would pay rent when they own half the property. EG you may in future require money to go into an age care facility. The money is tied up in the unit and would require the unit being sold to get their share back or their daughter would need to borrow more money to give them their share which is doubtful . If they decide not to do that then the care they can get would be very much reduced. There are many other problems as well so it's not just a 'pension' issue.
    2nd Nov 2020
    This "rent" money would be considered gifting, so that may over time impact the Pension, unless it's their share of body corporate, rates etc. If only one of them enters age care, the Unit will be exempt from assessment for Age Care Fees. If they both enter or when the second person enters, the couple's share of the property will be assessed for age care costs. Unit will remain an exempt Pension asset for 2 years from when second person enters care.
    2nd Nov 2020
    Had the oddest experience re Centrelink and Age pension. Boarded with daughter and family when she rented but centrelink would not pay any rental assistance as my name was not on the lease. Still board with them but now they own a property, so qualified for rental assistance... Figure that one out.
    Am wondering if trying to access rental assistance but part owner, dont know how that would work - perhaps wanting to claim so can pay a bit to their daughter who may now be playing something of a carer role?
    Need qualified advice.
    2nd Nov 2020
    Homeowners don't qualify for Rent Assistance, except if you live in a caravan, motorhome, boat or over 50's Lifestyle Village. Your situation was odd, unless your share of the rent wasn't enough to trigger Rent Assistance.

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