If you’re one of the socially focussed investors looking to make a difference in the life of an Australian living with disability, then you’ll want to make sure you’ve covered all bases before investing in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). Just because an SDA property is compliant doesn’t mean it’s right.
At NDIS Loan Experts, we are passionate about helping you help others — so we’ve created this helpful guide on the top five questions you need to be asking SDA providers before investing.
Why is it so important to get it right?
The NDIS and inherently the Specialist Disability Accommodation scheme are ground-breaking. For the nearly 4.5 million Australians living with disability, SDA housing provides them with the opportunity to live in a home that fully supports their needs and enriches their quality of life. It would be incredibly heartbreaking to move into a home that you believe finally met your unique needs and supported you to live life to the fullest, only to find that it fails dismally.
Ensuring that your SDA provider is motivated to genuinely benefit the tenants, and not only inspired by their financial gain, truly helps to keep your own investment compass facing its true moral north.
The questions you need to be asking an SDA provider are:
- What distinguishes your designs from the rest?
Has this SDA provider truly considered the tenant’s needs, or are they blindly following some guidelines on paper to get the tick of approval and payment in the bank? By asking them to detail how they differentiate from other SDA providers, you’ll be able to get a feel for the level of consideration and awareness that the SDA provider exhibits.
Some SDA property red flags might look like:
– It’s been built to barely meet the SDA standards, with zero additional features or considerations such as orientation of the home, roadside access, or solar systems to help minimise the energy costs of participants.
– Multiple participants sharing a Robust design-build.
– Not every bedroom having its own designated ensuite.
– The location being too far from accessible amenities such as shops, public transport or medical facilities.
– A carbon copy of the other properties offered, where construction cost-cutting is evident.
- Who manages your properties?
This may seem like an inconsequential question, but for SDA properties this is crucially important. If your SDA provider uses property management firms or outside real estate agents to manage their properties, then we suggest steering absolutely clear.
Using external firms to manage SDA properties is an SDA compliance breach as every single person who works on or for an SDA property needs to be suitably inducted under NDIS legislation. In addition, external software applications do not uphold the privacy regulations around SDA tenant information, stipulated under the NDIS.
- Can you source your own land to build the SDA property?
Think you’ve found the perfect block situated close to amenities, in a quiet street, with wide pathed footpaths and local attractions only a stones-throw away? If your SDA provider is muscling you into buying one of their own pre-selected blocks in the middle of a brand new development, chances are they’re swaying your decision in the interest of land sales commission and not supporting you to make the best SDA property investment decision.
- Which partnerships do you have with Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers?
If the SDA provider you’re talking to has any partnerships with SIL providers, or indeed a related company that provides care, we caution you that the SDA provider may be breaching laws — at the very least, running some huge compliance risks. Most Australians with disability already have their own SIL or care providers. Not to mention agreements or partnerships could be a breach of the tenement of choice and control or could even be considered ‘3rd line forcing’ under the ACCC!
- Who performs the maintenance on your properties?
As we mentioned before, every worker on or for an SDA property needs to be inducted under the NDIS guidelines. This includes all maintenance staff. Anyone from landscapers, carpenters, pest control and plumbing need to not only have completed induction under NDIS policies and procedures, but they need to have worker screening. The unique needs of the participants mean that all maintenance staff must be aware of the modifications required compared to a standard home.
Your integrity as a benevolent investor and the integrity of your financial return depends on you conducting your due diligence when it comes to SDA providers. For more helpful hints, tips and advice, contact NDIS Loan Experts today.