Home Grant Fine

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

Being a first homeowner has it's perks ... but for Jason, the Government scheme to help young buyers has backfired on him, badly. Jason's been hit with a twenty two thousand dollar bill, because of a simple miscalculation. "I thought I'd done my six months stayed one week extra to make sure it's all kosher, then the biggest shock is well you haven't done it, here's $22 000 to pay back."

To qualify for the government's seven thousand dollar first home buyers grant, Jason had to live in his new house for six months ... he thought, he had. ":I moved in November, December, January, February, March, April, I thought yep, six months"

Without realising, he moved out three weeks shy of the mandatory six months. A young police officer at the time, Jason's usually one to do things by the book, he says he didn't mean to break, or even bend the rules ... it was an honest mistake, had he realised, Jason would have happily served his time.

Still, the Office of State Revenue has demanded he pay back the seven thousand dollar grant ... plus a fourteen hundred dollar fine. But that's not all. Jason's also been told he owes the Government another seven thousand dollars for stamp duty. You see, as a first home owner he was exempt from the tax ... now, he has to pay it back ... incredibly, he's been whacked with a second fourteen hundred dollar penalty for THAT too.

It's money the newlyweds don't have, Jason and Rachael are building a new home, and already have a hefty mortgage. They've got three weeks to pay ... or accept the Government's offer of a five year repayment plan ... at eleven percent ... that's about four percent more than even the greedy banks charge! "We have to pay over the next five years with 11% interest which will be around $22 000 we have to pay all up"

Twenty two thousand dollars, seven grand for each week, for that sort of money they could've rented a room at the Ritz. Despite several letters to the Treasurey, they've hit brick walls ...

Jason says "for other people out there you make a mistake and there's no one can appeal, you know what I mean, at least with court, your given a fair trial, they look at your circumstances and go this what happened" According to Jason, this is one case where the punishment doesn't fit the crime ... and he's warning all other first home buyers ... beware.