The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (ARHSEPP) was introduced on 31 July 2009. The policy’s intent is to facilitate the increased supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW.
The ARHSEPP covers housing types including in-fill affordable housing, along with secondary dwellings (granny flats), boarding houses, group homes, social housing and supportive accommodation.
On 18 December 2020, changes to the ARHSEPP were made as the first phase of amendments proposed to the NSW Government’s housing-relating policies exhibited as part of the proposed new Housing SEPP.
The changes will help facilitate the delivery of social and affordable housing by NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), clarify the application of provisions contained in Part 3 regarding the loss of low rental affordable housing, and enable councils to set the maximum size of secondary dwellings in rural zones.
On 9 April 2021, further changes were made to the ARHSEPP to introduce provisions for the new Short-term Rental Accommodation (STRA) policy.
The new policy includes:
More details regarding the new statewide policy can be found on the Short-term Rental Accommodation webpage.
Your local council or an accredited certifier can issue approval for a secondary dwelling as complying development if it meets specific criteria. The development standards for secondary dwellings as complying development are in Schedule 1 of the ARHSEPP.
Most other forms of development under the ARHSEPP need approval from the relevant consent authority (usually the local council). Because local planning controls can differ between council areas your local council should be the first point of contact for further information.
Part 3 of the ARHSEPP provides for the retention of existing affordable rental housing stock. Development applications (DA) that propose to demolish, alter or add, change the use of, or strata subdivide existing low cost rental dwellings may require a contribution towards the provision of alternative affordable housing.
Changes have been made to Part 3 of the ARHSEPP to allow councils to levy monetary contributions to offset the loss of dwellings that were low-rental at any time within the five years preceding the lodgement of a DA. Applicants will be responsible for demonstrating that a building which is proposed to be demolished, altered or strata subdivided did not contain low-rental dwellings at the relevant time.
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 was also amended to ensure this evidence or information is provided with DAs lodged to which this part of the ARHSEPP applies.
The amended provisions in Part 3 of the ARHSEPP and EP&A Regulation will commence on 1 February 2021.
To find out what types of development trigger this requirement refer to Part 3 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009, and for more information about contributions refer to the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP – Guidelines for Retention of Existing Affordable Rental Housing, October 2009.
The department’s Online Assessment Tool for determining contributions payable under Part 3 of the ARHSEPP is currently being upgraded. In the meantime, data about the median rental and sales prices for developments is in the rental and sales data by local government area 2015 06 to 2017 03 (xlsx 38.3 KB) which can be used in calculations. This data is drawn from the Department of Family and Community Services Housing Office Rent and Sales Report. More information on the report is in the Explanatory notes (PDF, 167 KB).
To ask a question about Part 3 of the ARHSEPP, please contact the Housing Policy team via ServiceFirst on 1300 305 695.
For more information you can read the following fact sheets:
Page last updated: 09/04/2021