Frequently asked questions

For SDA Providers

SDA Overview

For some participants of the NDIS, the NDIA will fund Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA refers to accommodation for people who require specialist housing solutions. Funding is only provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria.

SDA funding under the NDIS will stimulate investment in the development of new high quality dwellings for use by eligible NDIS participants. SDA funding is not support services, but is instead for the homes in which these services are delivered.

Supported Independent Living (SIL) is help with and/or supervision of daily tasks to develop the skills of an individual to live as independently as possible. These are the supports provided to a participant in their home, regardless of property ownership, and can be in a shared or individual arrangement.

The SDA policy was initially outlined in the ‘Specialist Disability Accommodation: Decision Paper on Pricing and Payments’ released on 1 June 2016 and the more practical application of SDA is defined within the NDIS SDA Rule that was first published in March 2017, updated July 2018.

The current set of documents that describe requirements for SDA provision are found at the SDA Pricing and Payments webpage:

Information about registering as an SDA provider can be found at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website; this website has a helpful information pack available for new providers registering with the NDIS.

All NDIS service providers and staff (even if not registered) must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct. Registered providers of SDA must comply with the NDIS Practice Standards (core module and SDA module).

See also “What is SDA” section for key NDIS documents about SDA.

Investors, builders and owners of SDA dwellings don't necessarily need to be registered as an SDA provider themselves. The SDA provider is the formal service provider under the NDIS and is responsible for compliance with all mandatory SDA requirements (refer “What is SDA” for key documents).

Head-leasing to a registered provider is permitted under Section 7.18 of the SDA Rule:

“The registered provider must not enrol a dwelling that is not owned by the registered provider unless the owner of the dwelling has acknowledged in writing that the dwelling is to be enrolled as SDA and that the owner has not separately enrolled the dwelling as SDA.”

All NDIS providers and workers (even if not registered) must comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct. Registered providers of SDA must comply with the NDIS Practice Standards (core module and SDA module). More information about registering as an SDA provider can be found at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website.

A list of all registered SDA providers is available on the NDIA website.

Note that the registered SDA provider list includes all organisations and individuals who have registered as an SDA provider, even if they have no SDA stock and are not actively providing services. This means that many on the SDA registered provider list may not be currently providing SDA, and may not do so in the future.

Refer to the “What is SDA” section for links to key NDIS documents.

All SDA dwellings must be enrolled with the NDIA. Please see the NDIA website for more information: SDA Registration and Dwelling Enrolment - note the Guide to Suitability.

The SDA Price Guide is essential reading about SDA requirements, how SDA payment works, price lists for “new” and “established” SDA dwellings and the assumptions used to derive the SDA prices.

The Summer Foundation is not a housing developer or SDA provider. But it has developed some useful resources that detail design standards and other information about developing and managing SDA housing:

Summer Housing, a sister organisation of the Summer Foundation, is an SDA provider and may be able to provide some guidance about best practice in SDA dwelling design. You can contact Summer Housing at: info@summerhousing.org.au

It’s a good idea to do your own internet search for access consultants near you. However, some experienced access consultants we’re aware of include:

Individual consultants:

Larger firms:

Refer to the “What is SDA” section for links to all key NDIS documents.

The NDIS Price Guide is an important reference document about provision of SDA. The SDA Rules set out the requirements for SDA to be eligible for funding. Sections 6.14 to 6.17 set out the details about density restrictions (p. 28):

Section 6.15 of the Rule states that: “if any of the dwellings on the parcel of land is enrolled to house three or more residents, then the density restriction is satisfied if the number of participants with SDA in their plan who reside in a dwelling on the parcel and receive SDA funding is no more than the greater of:

(a)        10; and

(b)        10% of the total number of residents capable of residing on the parcel, assuming one resident per bedroom”.

Section 6.16 of the Rule states that: “if all of the dwellings that are enrolled on the parcel are enrolled to house only one or two residents per dwelling, then the density restriction is satisfied if the number of participants with SDA in their plan who reside in a dwelling on the parcel and receive SDA funding is no more than the greater of:

(a)        15; and

(b)        15% of the total number of residents capable of residing on the parcel, assuming one resident per bedroom”.

If you are the registered SDA provider, you must understand and comply with all requirements for SDA providers, including the NDIS Practice Standards (note the Core Modules and SDA Module).

You should consider obtaining specialist advice from an SDA or access consultant on your development plans, to ensure your project is compliant with all NDIS requirements and reflects best practice design.

The NDIS Practice Standards specify the quality standards to be met by registered NDIS providers to provide supports and services to NDIS participants. Together with the NDIS Code of Conduct, the NDIS Practice Standards build NDIS participants’ awareness of what quality service provision they should expect from registered NDIS providers.

The SDA Module within the NDIS Practice Standards (p. 38) applies to registered providers and states that “each participant’s right to exercise choice and control over other NDIS support provision is not limited by their choice of SDA dwelling”.

To achieve this outcome, SDA providers should ensure that:

  • “The participant is supported to understand the distinction between the provision of SDA and other NDIS supports delivered in the dwelling. Where an SDA provider is delivering both SDA and other NDIS supports to the same participant, there are separate service agreements.” (p.38)
  • “The participant’s housing rights, including security of tenure, are upheld, irrespective of any decision/s the participant makes about the provision of other NDIS supports within the SDA dwelling (notwithstanding any matters covered by the SDA service agreement)” (p. 39)

The Summer Foundation developed a Separating Housing and Support Toolkit to assist organisations to separate their housing and support services.

SDA pricing provides for provision of Overnight On-site Assistance (OOA) in some SDA housing -  refer to the SDA Price Guide.

No, the Summer Foundation is not an NDIS service provider or SDA provider.

If you are looking to connect with an SDA provider, you can obtain a list of registered providers on the NDIA website and conduct a general internet search of active SDA providers.

Summer Housing, a sister organisation of the Summer Foundation, is a registered SDA provider. Summer Housing operates separately to the Summer Foundation. You can contact them at: info@summerhousing.org.au

The Summer Foundation provides information and tools in the market to connect NDIS participants to housing providers. This includes The Housing Hub and our Tenancy Matching Service.

No. The Summer Foundation is not an SDA provider or developer.

Summer Housing, a sister organisation of the Summer Foundation, is a registered SDA provider and may provide information about upcoming developments and inspection opportunities. Summer Housing operates separately to the Summer Foundation. You can contact Summer Housing at: info@summerhousing.org.au.

Refer to the “What is SDA” section for links to key NDIS documents.

Building and investing in SDA is very complicated and it’s important to do your research about how SDA funding under the NDIS works, as well as get expert advice about any planned project.

The Summer Foundation publishes free resources on the Get Building SDA website to help people in the SDA market (providers, investors and people with disability) understand how SDA works. You can also find these resources and more on the Summer Foundation website.

Expert technical advice should be obtained if planning an SDA development. Look for specialist SDA consultants through an internet search. They should have in-depth experience of working with the SDA requirements. Disability Services Consulting (DSC) is one such firm we suggest, who provide individual consultancy services and training.


SDA Agreements

Refer to the “What is SDA” section for links to key NDIS documents.

An SDA Service Agreement is the same as an Accommodation Agreement. It’s like a tenancy agreement between the SDA provider and the NDIS participant, and will be called different things in different states, depending on the state tenancies legislation. You should refer to residential tenancies requirements in the relevant jurisdiction.

A “Service Agreement” for SDA is a requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards (SDA Module, p. 39). All SDA providers must comply with the NDIS Practice Standards and the NDIS Code of Conduct.

You can seek information about registration requirements for SDA from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission which regulates all NDIS providers.  The commission has offices in each jurisdiction and can be contacted on 1800 035 544.

Refer to the residential tenancies legislation in your state/territory.

Refer to the residential tenancies legislation in your state/territory.

No. Home Modifications is an NDIS support which cannot be provided to an NDIS participant receiving SDA funding. SDA prices are calculated to cover the cost of accessibility and other dwelling features.

Assistive technology is individually funded for people living in SDA dwellings.

The SDA provider is responsible for maintaining the dwelling - refer to the NDIS Practice Standards.


SDA Payments

Refer to the SDA Price Guide.

SDA pricing assumes the SDA tenant pays the SDA provider a Reasonable Rent Contribution (RRC), which comprises:

  • 25% of Disability Support Pension, plus
  • 100% of Commonwealth Rent Assistance

The SDA Price Guide includes information about the assumptions used to determine SDA prices including development costs, costs of finance, costs of outgoings, level of gearing and pre-tax return (refer p. 15-16).

You are advised to undertake your own research and due diligence into particular SDA investments and business models. The Summer Foundation cannot provide information about expected market returns on SDA.


SDA Demand

The Summer Foundation has published two reports about SDA supply and demand, based on modelling and surveys - SDA Market Insights and SDA Supply in Australia.

The NDIA publishes limited information about the number of NDIS participants with SDA funding in their Quarterly Reports (check this page for the latest report and go to Appendix O: https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/publications/quarterly-reports).

The published data from the NDIA does not provide information about which SDA design categories participants have been funded for. Furthermore, it is assumed most participants reported by the NDIA as having SDA funding are living in existing SDA - generally group homes from the pre-NDIS system. This data is therefore not very helpful for assessing new demand for SDA and type of demand.

The SDA Appendix of the Quarterly Report also publishes data about enrolled SDA dwellings, but this excludes most government-owned SDA dwellings to date.

The Summer Foundation operates a Tenancy Matching Service. We work with SDA providers with new SDA developments seeking tenants to shape tenant selection criteria and provide advice on developing their marketing and promotional materials. This fee-based service can provide:

  • Community engagement tailored to your property
  • A shortlist of relevant candidates for your vacancy
  • A report with detailed assessment of all identified candidates
  • Support and advice – from establishing matching criteria through to making offers to chosen candidates

Read more here and view a brochure here.

The Housing Hub is a web-based information platform connecting people with disability who are seeking housing from housing providers with housing vacancies in Victoria, NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia. The Housing Hub listings will soon expand to other states.

The Housing Hub covers both SDA and non-SDA disability housing.  Housing seekers can browse properties listed on the website, and directly contact housing providers when they find a property they are interested in. Please read more here.