§ 416.1245. Exceptions to required disposition of real property.

(a) Loss of housing for joint owner. Excess real property which would be a resource under § 416.1201 is not a countable resource for conditional benefit purposes when: it is jointly owned; and sale of the property by an individual would cause the other owner undue hardship due to loss of housing. Undue hardship would result when the property serves as the principal place of residence for one (or more) of the other owners, sale of the property would result in loss of that residence, and no other housing would be readily available for the displaced other owner (e.g., the other owner does not own another house that is legally available for occupancy). However, if undue hardship ceases to exist, its value will be included in countable resources as described in § 416.1207.

(b) Reasonable efforts to sell. (1) Excess real property is not included in countable resources for so long as the individual's reasonable efforts to sell it have been unsuccessful. The basis for determining whether efforts to sell are reasonable, as well as unsuccessful, will be a 9-month disposal period described in § 416.1242. If it is determined that reasonable efforts to sell have been unsuccessful, further SSI payments will not be conditioned on the disposition of the property and only the benefits paid during the 9-month disposal period will be subject to recovery. In order to be eligible for payments after the conditional benefits period, the individual must continue to make reasonable efforts to sell.

(2) A conditional benefits period involving excess real property begins as described at § 416.1242(a). The conditional benefits period ends at the earliest of the following times:

(i) Sale of the property;

(ii) Lack of continued reasonable efforts to sell;

(iii) The individual's written request for cancellation of the agreement;

(iv) Countable resources, even without the conditional exclusion, fall below the applicable limit (e.g., liquid resources have been depleted); or

(v) The 9-month disposal period has expired.

(3) Reasonable efforts to sell property consist of taking all necessary steps to sell it in the geographic area covered by the media serving the area in which the property is located, unless the individual has good cause for not taking these steps. More specifically, making a reasonable effort to sell means that:

(i) Except for gaps of no more than 1 week, an individual must attempt to sell the property by listing it with a real estate agent or by undertaking to sell it himself;

(ii) Within 30 days of receiving notice that we have accepted the individual's signed written agreement to dispose of the property, and absent good cause for not doing so, the individual must:

(A) List the property with an agent; or

(B) Begin to advertise it in at least one of the appropriate local media, place a “For Sale” sign on the property (if permitted), begin to conduct “open houses” or otherwise show the property to interested parties on a continuous basis, and attempt any other appropriate methods of sale; and

(iii) The individual accepts any reasonable offer to buy and has the burden of demonstrating that an offer was rejected because it was not reasonable. If the individual receives an offer that is at least two-thirds of the latest estimate of current market value, the individual must present evidence to establish that the offer was unreasonable and was rejected.

(4) An individual will be found to have “good cause” for failing to make reasonable efforts to sell under paragraph (b)(3) of this section if he or she was prevented by circumstances beyond his or her control from taking the steps specified in paragraph (b)(3) (i) through (ii) of this section.

(5) An individual who has received conditional benefits through the expiration of the 9 month disposal period and whose benefits have been suspended as described at § 416.1320 for reasons unrelated to the property excluded under the conditional benefits agreement, but whose eligibility has not been terminated as defined at §§ 416.1331 through 416.1335, can continue to have the excess real property not included in countable resources upon reinstatement of SSI payments if reasonable efforts to sell the property resume within 1 week of reinstatement. Such an individual will not have to go through a subsequent conditional benefits period. However, the individual whose eligibility has been terminated as defined at §§ 416.1331 through 416.1335 and who subsequently reapplies would be subject to a new conditional benefits period if there is still excess real property.

[55 FR 10419, Mar. 21, 1990, as amended at 62 FR 30983, June 6, 1997; 64 FR 31975, June 15, 1999]