Living in a home with full provisions to cater for our specific needs shouldn’t be a luxury denied to those living with disability. Home modifications can be the difference between prematurely sending a person with high support needs to a nursing home and living a life of independence within their own home.
We discuss what’s involved in home modifications and what other options exist to help achieve independence and suitable accommodation for those living with disability in our community.
What’s involved in home modification?
As a broad rule, home modification refers to changing the fittings, layout or structure of a home to ensure that its residents live in a space that is accessible and safe. Depending on the level of accessibility required, home modifications can range from simple fixes, such as the installation of grab rails, right through to full home automation and structural changes to entryways, benchtops and bathrooms.
What’s minor to one person can still make a major impact on another. For the purpose of funding under a person’s Capital Supports Budget, the two minor home modifications categories are Category A and Category B.
Any minor modification that costs less than $10,000 is classified as a category A modification. The NDIS requires evidence that the home modifications meet the appropriate safety criteria, and are necessary — for Category A modifications, an occupational therapist can complete the assessment.
For home modifications that are between $10,000 – $20,000 (or those that involve making minor modifications to the floor of a bathroom), they sit under Category B. Rather than an occupational therapy professional, a specialist home modifications assessor is required for Category B assessments and guidance.
What about complex home modifications?
Higher risk modifications, such as those that are structural or require custom-built construction, are considered complex home modifications. Typically, complex home modification requires council permissions, building approvals, and electrical or plumbing work certification.
Accessing Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
NDIS participants living with very high support needs or extreme functional impairment may be eligible for SDA funding under their NDIS plan. SDA properties are dwellings that have been purpose-built under strict NDIS design categories to support Australians living with disability.
The SDA funding application process requires assessments to be undertaken by support coordinators and other allied health professionals (such as occupational therapists). Once an occupational therapist has completed the assessment, it can then be used to put together a housing plan to include in the funding application.
Investing in NDIS properties
One opportunity that exists for family members of those living with disability, or the general public, is the ability to invest in NDIS SDA properties. SDA homes often become ‘forever homes’ for the NDIS tenants that reside in them, so the social outcomes of NDIS property investment are clear, however, what you may not know is:
- NDIS investment properties attracted 10-15% pa rental yield thanks to backing by the federal government under the NDIS program.
- The market for SDA properties is in high demand and is uncorrelated to the residential property market.
- The properties can be multi-roomed, meaning that you’re providing more than one NDIS participant with a home. This also provides the tenants with the opportunity for socialisation and independence.
- Sometimes, you can knock down, rebuild, or renovate an existing property to enrol as an SDA property. This does require substantial and complex home modification.
- Working with NDIS property investment specialists such as Apollo Investment means that you access a complete end-to-end solution that focuses on homes with capital growth potential and guaranteed tenancy.
To find out more about how you can improve the quality of life for a member of the community as well as the return on your property portfolio, contact the team at Apollo Investment.