The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Special RA rules for people in accommodation for older people (life interest rules)


The following information relates to people in special residences.

These include people who:

  • reside in retirement villages (1.1.R.270)
  • obtain granny flat rights (1.1.G.65)
  • enter into sale leaseback arrangements (1.1.S.25), and
  • enter into a life interest arrangement.

Note: Information relating to people residing in residential care facilities (including nursing homes and hostels) or multi purpose service facilities, or people who are being cared for in hospital can be found in

Eligibility for RA, home ownership status and assets testing of people residing in special residences is determined by the EC (1.1.E.130) made by the person when entering the arrangement.

The EC is compared to the 'extra allowable amount' (1.1.E.240) at the time of entering the arrangement. The extra allowable amount is the difference between the non-homeowner and homeowner assets test limits.

RA is payable to eligible people for regular rent-type payments such as maintenance fees that the person makes to the owner. These payments exclude any amounts that constitute the EC.

If the EC is … then the person is a … and RA is …
less than or equal to the extra allowable amount non-homeowner payable.
more than the extra allowable amount homeowner not payable.

Act reference: SSAct section 12 Retirement villages definitions, section 12A Granny flat definitions, section 12B Sale leaseback definitions, section 12C Special residence and residents definitions

Policy reference: SS Guide General provisions for special residences

Retirement village

The EC for a person residing in a retirement village is the amount paid by the person upon entering the village. The person's EC should be compared to the extra allowable amount applicable at time of entry.

Policy reference: SS Guide Assessing Retirement Villages, 1.1.R.270 Retirement village

Granny flat rights

The EC for a person who obtains granny flat rights is the amount paid for obtaining the granny flat right. The person's EC should be compared to the extra allowable amount applicable at time of entry.

Policy reference: SS Guide Granny flats - features, rights & interests, Granny Flats - Additional Features

Sale leaseback arrangement

The EC is the amount still payable to the tenant after the initial payment made on agreement. This includes all continuing (or stream of) payments as well as the final payment.

The EC should be compared to the extra allowable amount at the time the agreement is made.

Policy reference: SS Guide Assessing Sale Leaseback Residences

Life interest arrangement

Some people obtain a life interest in a home without any exchange of money or transfer of assets. The following table describes how these people would be assessed:

If the person … they are considered a … and RA is …
inherited the life interest homeowner not payable.
has a formal agreement documenting their right to accommodation for life homeowner not payable.
has an informal arrangement with children to live at their home, and pay rent non-homeowner may be payable.

Last reviewed: