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One of the objectives of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is the delivery and maintenance of affordable housing.


The NSW Government supports planning policies that encourage affordable housing development which incorporates the needs and character of the surrounding area.


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 and the State Environmental Planning Policy No. 70 Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) are policies which encourage the development of new affordable housing and the maintenance of existing affordable housing.


Affordable Rental Housing SEPP

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (AHSEPP) was introduced on 31 July 2009. The policy’s intent is to increase the supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in the state.


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


Find more information on how to gain approval for a granny flat under the AHSEPP.

Retention of existing affordable rental housing under Part 3 of the AHSEPP

Part 3 of the AHSEPP provides for the retention of existing affordable rental housing stock. Development applications to demolish, alter or add, change the use of, or strata subdivide existing low-rental residential dwellings may require a contribution towards the provision of affordable housing.


To find out what types of development trigger this requirement please refer to Part 3 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009, and for more information about contributions please refer to the Guidelines for retention of existing affordable rental housing


The Department’s Online Assessment Tool for determining contributions payable under Part 3 of the AHSEPP is currently being upgraded. In the meantime, data about the median rental and sales prices for developments can be found here for “Rental Data" and "Sales Data”, for use in calculations. This data is drawn from the Department of Family and Community Services Rent and Sales Report, available in full here.


To ask a question about Part 3 of the AHSEPP, please contact the Housing Policy team on 1377 88.

Approval of developments under the AHSEPP

Your local council or an accredited certifier can issue approvals for granny flat developments as long as they meet specific criteria under the AHSEPP


All other development under the AHSEPP requires approval from the relevant consent authority which is the local council in most cases. As local planning controls are required to be taken into account for these developments, your local council should be the first point of contact for those seeking further information.

SEPP No. 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) 

SEPP 70 Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) is a mechanism that allows specified councils to prepare an affordable housing contribution scheme for certain precincts, areas or developments within their local government area. 


The City of Sydney has affordable housing schemes operating in Ultimo/Pyrmont, Green Square and Southern Employment Lands.

Together the schemes in operation have resulted in 739 affordable rental dwellings for very low to moderate income households in the LGA. A further 314 dwellings are in the development pipeline and expected to be built by 2019 (Planning Proposal: City of Sydney Affordable Housing Review, March 2017). Dwellings are built and managed by City West Housing.


For more information regarding how contributions are calculated, please visit the City of Sydney’s website.


An Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for SEPP 70 is currently on exhibition and open for public comment until 31 January 2018. The EIE proposes the inclusion of five Councils – Randwick City, Inner West, Northern Beaches, City of Ryde and City of Canada Bay. Further information is available on the SEPP No. 70 page.


Affordable Housing Taskforce

The Government established an Affordable Housing Taskforce in 2011. The Taskforce has been advising Government on how best to facilitate the delivery of affordable housing into the future.

Page last updated: 14/12/2017