Life Lease Housing Information

Developed specifically to suite the needs of “Seasoned Citizens”

LIFE LEASE Residents benefit financially from:

  • NON TAXABLE INCOME status of the Non Profit Corporation
  • NOT-FOR-PROFIT Operating for the life of the Project
  • LOWER BORROWING RATES via Bulk Mortgage Financing
  • MANY OTHER BENEFITS outlined below


It is commonly accepted that the first Canadian Life Lease model was derived from an earlier U.S. model, by the Provincial Government Department of Housing in Manitoba, Canada circa 1985. The first “Life Lease” project developed in Manitoba was the “Fred Douglas Place” Project located in Downtown Winnipeg (opened in 1988). Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported (1999) that there were approximately 72 Life Lease projects in Manitoba at that time (Ontario has five different types of “lifelease” models). Manitoba has the only legislation covering lifeleases, in Canada.

Manitoba Housing Life Lease

The “Manitoba Housing” Life Lease model raises tenant equity by way of selling “Life Leases” to future residents. The characteristics of this model are fairly conservative and provide a number of security features specifically designed to protect the future residents’ position and equity.

The Manitoba Life Lease provides;

The FLEXIBILITY of rental – combined with – The STABILITY of ownership.

Flexibility is provided by virtue of the lease, i.e. when a tenant wishes to leave a Life Lease Project, the tenant’s only requirement is to give notice (usually 90 days notice). Life Lease residents are not be required to resell the suite as if it were a Condominium. The onus for resell lies with the Non Profit Housing Corporation. Mechanics are set in place to refund the tenant their original investment upon termination of the lease or to compensate them for delays.

Stability is enhanced by the characteristics inherent in operating on a Not-For-Profit basis for the life of the Project – i.e. no profit – no motivation to increase rents. Rental increases are incurred only in response to increases in utilities, property taxes and mortgage interest rates.

Life Lease Model

The Life Lease model was developed in a response to the projected new housing trends of the nineties and into the new millennium. The current demographics clearly indicate that our population is aging at an increasingly high rate. Current Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation statistics predict an increase of 1,700,000 Canadian Households (16.5%) between 1991 and 2001 with household growth highest in the 45-54, and 75 plus age groups.

It is predicted that by 2011 the number of seniors in Manitoba will have grown to over 176,000. Seniors in Manitoba represent 13.4% of the total population and 23.7% of the adult population. In 1998, tose Manitobans aged 80 and over comprised 23.3% (34,000) of the seniors and by 2011, they will account for 31.9%.

These Canadians are looking for a Life Style change to better suite their needs. The younger age group of “empty nesters” are looking for flexibility, low maintenance and security – leave for extended trips – no residential worries at home – no maintenance. Although the older age group share many of the same Life Style needs, many older singles and couples cherish the community support provided through living in a multi residential complex with common amenities.

The life lease model has been used to develop “Independent Living” housing projects and can be used to develop “Enriched Housing” projects where residential needs are supplemented by a variety of other services (laundry, light housekeeping, meals, medical services, etc.).

Characteristics of Today’s Life Lease Projects

The characteristics of today’s Life Lease Projects are varied.
Depending on the Life Lease setup, tenants can realize a number of benefits some of which are itemized in point form below:

  • Participate in Not-For-Profit Project Development.
  • Participate in Not-For-Profit Rents for the life of the Project.
  • Participate in the opportunity for Capital Investment.
  • Choose to further lower housing costs and benefit from the Income Tax Exempt status of the sponsoring Non Profit Housing Corporation.
  • The cost of the Life Lease to the resident is the cost of construction of their suite plus a proportionate share the common costs such as land and common space within the project. Since there is no “developer’s profit” the non profit organization bases the final costs needed to operate on a break even basis plus traditionally accepted levels of contingency. Non profit rent includes reserves for capital replacement, vacancies and bad/debt.
  • Enjoy security of tenure by way of the Life Lease. There is no termination date (in the event of Death, all capital is returned to the Estate unless there is a surviving spouse on the lease).
  • Participate in the Design of the Suite and Project Layout and Amenities.
  • Benefit from sponsor land and or cash equity contributions which lower capital costs and can increase amenities) i.e. endowments, donated land and buildings, etc.).
  • Benefit from sharing costs with others i.e. economies of scale (group investment power, preferential interest rates).
  • All building and grounds maintenance, administration, common costs, property taxes, debt service, building insurance, hydro, gas, sewer and water, costs are the responsibility of the non profit organization and included in the resident’s monthly housing occupancy charge. Residents are usually only responsible for the costs of telephone, cable TV and insurance for household contents only.
  • Enjoy the use of common amenities, games room, exercise room, multipurpose room, lounges, solariums, landscaped grounds and share common needs and interests with others in a community like setting.
  • Participate in the ongoing operations by way of representation at Resident Association and Board level.