# 2016-007 - Home Equity Assistance Program (HEAP)

Home Equity Assistance Program (HEAP)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2016–05–18

While in the process of selling his condominium upon posting, the grievor's condominium corporation unexpectedly levied a special assessment of $17,000 against each of the condominium units. In order to conclude the sale with the prospective buyer, the grievor reduced his sale price to compensate for the special assessment and then applied for the home equity assistance (HEA) benefit to make up for the loss he suffered. His application for HEA was denied as it was found that it was his personal choice to lower the price of his home. The grievor argued that the financial loss he suffered on the sale of his home was not due to a personal decision, but rather to unforeseen factors beyond his control and that his loss met the intent of the HEA benefit criteria.

Acting as the initial authority (IA), the Director General Compensation and Benefits determined that the reduction in the sale price of the grievor's house was based on the requirement for deferred maintenance as detailed in the special assessment levied by the condominium corporation. The IA pointed out that, as per the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program (CF IRP) directive, any reduction in the sale price based on deferred maintenance cannot be included when calculating HEA.

The Committee observed that the CF IRP does not define or provide examples as to what is, or would be, considered deferred maintenance. The Committee referenced the Royal Canadian Mounted Police IRP directive which provides an example of deferred maintenance and found that the special assessment was not levied due to what could be considered deferred maintenance, but rather it was levied to ensure sufficient funds would be available for future planned maintenance. As such, the Committed found that the reduction in the grievor's listing price was not due to deferred maintenance.

The Committee therefore recommended that the grievor be granted HEA based on the loss he suffered on the sale of his home.

FA Decision Summary

The FA did not agree with the Committee's findings and recommendation, and he denied the grievance. The FA accepted the grievor's characterization of deferred maintenance as "the practice of postponing maintenance activities in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies". The FA stated that prior to the sale of the grievor's condominium the special assessment that had been levied was the grievor's responsibility. The FA found that in choosing to lower the sale price due to the special assessment, the grievor deferred the payment of the special assessment to the buyer. Accordingly, the FA found that the reduction in the sale price was due to deferred maintenance, which cannot be compensated through Home Equity Assistance.

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