If you’ve been looking into NDIS property investment and are considering how you can enter the market, you may be wondering whether you can rent your existing house under the NDIS. While it is technically possible, there is a complex web of requirements to meet for NDIS rental properties.
We explore what it takes to refurbish an existing home for enrolment into the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) scheme, and your options for SDA property investment.
Upgrading your home to comply with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
If you’ve looked into the SDA building process, but already have an existing home or investment property, it’s understandable that you’d be curious about how you could potentially transform your existing home into specialist housing. However, unfortunately, due to the detailed requirements for specialist disability accommodation to appropriately support and meet the needs of Australians with extreme functional impairment, you may find it challenging to renovate an existing property into an NDIS property.
To upgrade an existing home for SDA enrolment, it must first be considered a ‘new build’ by satisfying five different conditions:
Either, it was first provided with its certificate of occupancy on or after the 1st of April 2016, or it was provided with a certificate of occupancy on or after the 1st of April 2016 as a result of renovation or refurbishment.
The property must also meet the minimum requirements for one of the SDA design categories, and the cost of the refurbishment must be at least that of the amounts set out in the Minimum Refurbishment Costs for New Builds Guide.
- The house must be enrolled to house five or fewer long-term residents, or be the home of the NDIS participant who intends to become a registered SDA provider themselves.
- Every bedroom and any shared areas that are going to be used by SDA-eligible participants must comply with the minimum requirements of the intended SDA design category.
- The property can’t breach the density restrictions for new builds. The SDA rules outline that density restrictions apply where a single parcel of land holds multiple dwellings.
- No more than 20 years can have elapsed since the certificate of occupancy (or equivalent) was issued.
The difference between NDIS home modifications and upgrading to an SDA-compliant property
For existing NDIS participants, it only makes sense that remaining in their existing home (but with the relevant provisions to support independent living) would form part of their home and living goals. The general rental housing market is ill-equipped to support the care needs of those with disability. If an NDIS participant is in the fortunate position to own their home, they may be eligible for home modification funding under their NDIS plan.
Unlike upgrades to a home to be able to register them with the SDA scheme, NDIS home modifications allow the necessary modifications to be made to a participant’s home to help them access and use areas of their home that they currently find challenging.
Making an NDIS participant’s home accessible and providing them with the security and ability to fulfil personal care or personal tasks provides not only a better quality of day-to-day life, but also helps to keep them out of residential aged care, prematurely.
Undertaking NDIS home modifications
For those who wish to more safely access areas of their home and complete personal care tasks or to make behavioural management home modifications, they will need to approach the NDIS to apply for funding. To fund home modifications for NDIS rental properties, the NDIS first need to categorise the modification into either a minor or complex modification.
NDIS builders and designers will need to be engaged after a suitably qualified occupational therapist to certify the effectiveness of the proposed modifications.
Investing in Specialist Disability Accommodation
For NDIS participants who do not own their own home and can’t make the necessary modifications to achieve a suitable living arrangement, they generally seek specialised housing under the Specialist Disability Accommodation scheme. SDA properties are purpose-built to incorporate the necessary provision to support participants’ disability-related needs and complex behaviour support needs.
Not only does SDA help participants to live independently (or, as independently as possible while accessing additional support), but specialist disability accommodation assists eligible participants in improving their social and communication skills, locates them close to healthcare facilities and keeps them out of aged care facilities.
To help encourage social and economic participation, the Australian Government made SDA open to private investors. With the opportunity to directly benefit the community and achieve returns greater than in a private rental property, many Australian property investors are now looking at how they can make the most of the SDA market.
If upgrading an existing home to comply with the SDA requirements poses too many roadblocks, find an easier path with Apollo Investment — we are specialists in the NDIS investment process and can guide you from Step 1 through to completion.
Reach out to the team today to find a more efficient and cost-effective way to make a difference in the life of an Australian with disability via a long-term housing solution.
What is the Difference between community housing and SDA?
Social and community housing is offered by state and territory governments to Australians who are unable to afford to rent on the residential property market. Social and affordable housing is not designed for Australians living with disability, as it is not an individualised living option.
How do I find tenants for an SDA property?
To source eligible participants, your SDA provider will help connect with services for Australians seeking housing designed for SDA participants.
What is the National Disability Insurance Agency?
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency who are responsible for implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).