In life lease housing, the buyer purchases an interest in that property—which gives the buyer the right to occupy a unit for a long period of time, often for their lifetime.

Like condo owners, the buyer pays a lump-sum purchase price, and then continues to pay:

  • property taxes
  • monthly fees for maintenance

Life leases are usually priced lower than similarly sized condominiums in the area. This could be due to the lack of availability of conventional mortgages and the exemption from land transfer taxes.

Life lease housing is usually developed and operated by non­profit or charitable organizations called “sponsors.”

Life lease buyers are often seniors looking to move into smaller homes.


People choose life lease housing for:

  • affordability
  • fewer home maintenance responsibilities
  • access to social and recreational programs
  • a sense of community (for example, seniors, religious or cultural groups)
  • care and meal services offered by the sponsor on site, if available

Life lease interest

In life lease housing, the buyer does not own the property. The life lease holder holds an interest in that property.

The life lease interest gives the holder the right to occupy (live in) a unit, rather than own the unit itself. The life lease sponsor owns the property.

If a life lease holder passes away

If the holder passes away, their inheritor gets the life lease interest, but not the right to occupy the unit. The inheritor can benefit from the sale of the life lease, but they cannot automatically move into the home.

The inheritor may be able to apply to move into the life lease unit—the decision is up to the sponsor.


The terms of each life lease agreement may vary from one project to another. This guide covers the common practices with a focus on the Market Value Model (see section for models of life lease housing).

Please read a life lease agreement closely before signing it. If you are considering a life lease purchase, you should seek the advice of qualified professionals, including legal counsel.

This guide is for information only and offers a summary of legislation that is subject to change. It is not a legal interpretation of the legislation. The guide, as well as any links or information from other sources, is not a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice. The user is solely responsible for any use or application of this guide.