Affordable rental housing

Affordable Rental Housing SEPP


Affordable Rental Housing SEPP

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009, or AHSEPP, was introduced on 31 July 2009 to increase the supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW. 

It covers housing types including villas, townhouses and apartments which contain an affordable rental housing component, along with secondary dwellings (also known as granny flats), new generation boarding houses, group homes, social housing and supportive accommodation.


New rules for complying development

Changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 that effect complying development for secondary dwellings / granny flats and group homes will come into effect on 22 February. More information.

Learn more about the changes to complying development. 

Previous amendments to the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP

The NSW Government announced changes to the policy on 20 May 2011. 
The changes involved amending and removing certain provisions of the AHSEPP, and retaining those provisions which encourage new affordable rental housing that is compatible with its surroundings and in locations that are well served by public transport.

The NSW Government revised the AHSEPP to stop private developers building townhouses and villas in low density areas, where the development is not compatible with the design of the locality and not well served by public transport. Tougher public transport access and parking standards now apply to new generation boarding houses in low-rise residential areas, while Housing NSW will need to satisfy new parking criteria and comply with council notification policies.

The NSW Government also formed an Affordable Housing Taskforce to help develop and implement what was then a new Affordable Housing Choice SEPP. The taskforce works with local councils to develop Affordable Housing Choice Strategies to reflect their local housing needs and development characteristics. Once these local strategies have been confirmed as appropriately meeting local affordable housing needs, the council is able to be exempted from all or certain aspects of the Affordable Housing Choice SEPP.

First-year review of the SEPP

The AHSEPP included a requirement that it be reviewed a year after its commencement. On 20 December 2010, the department released a discussion paper which outlined issues raised since the introduction of the SEPP. The department placed this paper on exhibition until 1 March 2011 and received around 230 submissions.
The feedback indicated general community support for a State planning policy to encourage the development of more affordable rental housing, but it also highlighted the need for the NSW Government to work more closely with councils and the community on the issue of affordable housing. This feedback has helped to inform the Government’s changes to the AHSEPP. 


Online assessment tool

The online assessment tool provides an efficient, consistent and transparent way for councils and practitioners to evaluate and assess impacts and mitigate for the loss of low-rental accommodation under Part 3 of the SEPP.
The tool, which can be accessed under AHSEPP - Part 3 information, is simple to use, and requires no training to understand and operate. A guide to using the tool is included on the 'Read Me First' tab.
The department also publishes a list of the first quartile and median weekly rental by dwelling size for each local government area. The Year 2 heading is for the most recent 12-month period, while the Year 1 heading is for the preceding 12-month period. These two figures define the thresholds against which the rents for each unit in the residential flat building are compared for the previous two years.

SEPP No. 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes)

The Revised City West Affordable Housing Program 2010 PDF file aims to ensure that households with low to moderate incomes continue to live and work in Ultimo-Pyrmont.
SEPP No. 70 Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) continues to apply to allow the operation of existing housing schemes, which would otherwise have expired. 

 Changes to the AHSEPP from 20 May 2011
 In-fill development
 Granny flats/ secondary dwellings
 New generation boarding houses
 Social housing
 Group homes
 Supportive housing
 Retaining affordable rental housing  

 Online assessment tool
 Table of low rental dwellings

 Site compatibility guidelines
 Site compatibility application form

 Section 94G(3)(b) issued on 2 October 2009

Last Updated 20-May-2014