Through the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP-Disabilities), the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides assistance to financially aid both homeowners and landlords to make modifications to their dwelling to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. These changes are meant to improve the safety of the property while removing barriers that may be encountered during daily living within the home.
In order for your property or that of a landlord to be eligible, it must meet certain conditions. It must be determined by CMHC that the modifications are directly related to the person’s disability. Some of the changes that would be acceptable are chairlifts, adjustments to the height of cupboards, ramps, bath lifts or handrails.
There are no exceptions to the criteria that need to be met. The house cannot be in need of any major repairs either to the structure itself or to any of the necessary systems. It needs to be in good overall condition in order to be considered for acceptance.
If the property is being rented, it is required to be at a cost that is less than the rents that have been established for the nearby area. The property, is owned, needs to be assessed below a certain amount. This will be determined by market values in the area and the value of existing properties.
It is necessary that the dwelling be for a person who is disabled. Either they are currently living there or it is determined that it will be occupied by a disabled person in the future. There are also guidelines as to how much income the disabled person can be earning. They must fall into the category of low-income and this amount is adjusted each year. This works the same for homeowners or landlords.
The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program comes in the form of a forgivable loan (a loan that you do not have to pay back as long as you adhere to certain requirements). It is necessary that the homeowner maintain ownership of the home for the length of the loan or if you are renting, that you continue to live on the property for the duration of the loan.
If you are a landlord, you have to ensure that you continue to offer rent that is affordable for the disabled person to continue to dwell at the same place. Once the loan duration time is over and the disabled tenant leaves, you have to ensure you only offer your rental unit to persons who are disabled and earn under a specified amount per year.
For both homeowners and landlords the forgivable loan will provide 100% coverage for the required modifications. There is no out of pocket amount necessary. Anything above the allowed amount is the responsibility of the owner.
Southern areas of Canada for rental units: $24,000.00
Northern areas of Canada for rental units: $28,000.00
Remote Northern areas for rental units: $36,000.00
It is important for landlords to understand that making modifications can drastically improve the life of a disabled person. The RRAP allows for low-income persons with disabilities to regain control over their day-to-day activities. Adaptations can improve mobility and make things much easier for someone who struggles with a physical disability.
Manitoba, New Brunswick, NFLD, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan all offer similar programs. In some of the remote areas of Canada, the loan amounts are greater. Mostly both provincial and federal governments contribute to the residential assistance.