Specialist disability accommodation and the Residential Tenancies Act - Legislation update

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2 July 2019
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From 1 July 2019, specialist disability accommodation (SDA) comes under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the Act). Consumer Affairs Victoria will be regulating the new provisions.

This change will affect Victorians who need specialist disability accommodation (SDA), residents already living in SDA, and SDA providers.

From the time that SDA is included in the Act, all accommodation for SDA residents must:

  • meet National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requirements, and
  • be enrolled with the NDIS (SDA enrolled dwellings).

Within six months of the new laws starting, SDA providers and SDA residents must enter into, or establish, one of the following agreements:

  • an SDA residency agreement (which gives the resident extra rights and protections), or
  • a residential tenancy agreement (which gives the resident the same rights as anyone renting a standard property).

Existing residential statements under the Disability Act 2006 will remain in place for residents until they enter into new SDA residency agreements or residential tenancy agreements.

New agreements need to be made by 1 January 2020, as the rules and protections relating to SDA as set out in the Disability Act 2006 will no longer exist.

SDA providers must:

  • make sure SDA enrolled dwellings are maintained in good repair
  • install fixtures required for residents’ daily living, use and enjoyment of the dwelling
  • give an Information statement to residents at least seven days before they:
    • enter into or establish an SDA residency agreement, or
    • enter into a residential tenancy agreement.
  • explain the Information statement and SDA residency agreement or Residential tenancy agreement using terms and methods that residents can understand. They can do so verbally or in writing.

Information statements summarise residents’ rights and responsibilities for the related agreement.

For more information about SDA agreements and information statements, view our Specialist disability accommodation section.