This matter also concerned the residence requirement in s12(1) of the Act. On 27 February 2012, the Tribunal found in favour of the Commissioner.
The applicants, who were unmarried at the time, purchased the home and received the grant. Ms D’Amelio alone took up residence. The alleged occupation lasted exactly six months, following which the property was tenanted. During that occupation by Ms D’Amelio, minimal utilities (electricity and water) usages were recorded. In material placed before the Commissioner by Ms D’Amelio, she had stated that many of the steps which would normally be carried out at home by a householder were also carried out at the residence of her parents or parents-in-law’s houses, such as eating meals, showering and washing clothes.
At hearing, however, Ms D’Amelio’s did not give evidence. This was remarked upon by the Tribunal, as it was her occupation which was in dispute. Based on the material before it, the Tribunal made a number of findings, including that if Ms D’Amelio did no more than what was alleged, that is, sleep at the property and carry out all of the significant elements of her life elsewhere, that would not in its view objectively amount to occupancy of the premises as a PPR for the purposes of s12(1) of the Act.
In all the circumstances, the Tribunal was of the view that the applicants had failed to discharge the onus of proof contained in s32 of the Act and accordingly confirmed the Commissioner’s determination.