Specialist disability accommodation

About changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and how this effects residents and providers of specialist disability accommodation.

New Victorian Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) residency agreements under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 are now available. 

SDA providers and existing residents must enter into or establish a new SDA residency agreement before 1 January 2020.

Disability Amendment Act (2019)

The Disability (NDIS Transition) Amendment Act 2019 makes necessary amendments to:

  • the Disability Act 2006 to facilitate transition to the NDIS, and
  • the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) to meet Victoria’s obligations under the National Quality and Safeguards Framework.

These changes ensure safeguards for people with disability are maintained and strengthened during transition to the NDIS within Victoria and in the future.

Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA)

Changes have been made to the RTA to ensure that:

  • the residential rights of NDIS participants residing in SDA are fully protected.
  • that the duties of SDA providers are clearly set out, including penalties for non-compliance.

Part 12A of the RTA:

  • strengthens protections for SDA residents against unreasonable eviction.
  • allows SDA residents to continue to receive and request visits from Community Visitors.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) will regulate the new Part 12A of the RTA and will provide:

  • resources so that SDA residents and providers understand their rights and obligations, including Easy English versions. 
  • regular updates on SDA legislation.

Further information is available on the CAV web-site and the factsheets below.

Specialist Disability Accommodation Residents

An SDA resident is someone who is an NDIS participant residing in an SDA enrolled dwelling, and who receives an SDA payment as part of their NDIS support plan.

  • For current residents - residential statements under the Disability Act remain in place until SDA residency agreements or residential tenancy agreements are in place. This must occur before 1 January 2020.
  • For new SDA residents - SDA providers may offer a choice of SDA residency agreement or residential tenancy agreement from late August 2019.
  • From late August, vacancies will be offered under the type of residency agreement in place for existing resident/s in the dwelling.

The SDA residency agreement and information statements for both types of agreement are now available on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website under resources for residents.

Community Visitors

A Community Visitor is a volunteer, empowered by the Disability Act to visit NDIS dwellings including:

  • SDA enrolled dwellings.
  • short-term accommodation assistance dwellings.

Community Visitors will maintain their existing powers and functions in Victoria in relation to SDA residents who are under an SDA residential agreement, including to initiate visits.

The Disability Act also introduces new provisions to allow an SDA resident on a residential tenancy agreement to request a visit from a Community Visitor.

Specialist Disability Accommodation Providers

An SDA provider is the landlord of an SDA enrolled dwelling, and is responsible for:

  • receiving rent from SDA residents.
  • arranging maintenance and repairs of SDA enrolled dwellings.
  • upholding residential rights of SDA residents through compliance with the RTA.

SDA providers with existing dwellings and residents must enter into or establish a new SDA Residency Agreement before 1 January 2020.

Further information is available on the CAV web-site.

Supported Independent Living Providers (SIL)

SIL is assistance provided to an NDIS participant in their home to help them live as independently as possible.

Residential statements under the Disability Act remain in place until existing residents transition to new SDA residency agreements or residential tenancy agreements under the RTA.

Reviewed 21 February 2020

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