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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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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. 

Approval of developments under the ARHSEPP

Your local council or an accredited certifier can issue approvals for a secondary dwelling development as complying development if it meets specific criteria. The development standards for secondary dwellings as complying development are in Schedule 1 of the ARHSEPP.


All other development under the ARHSEPP, unless otherwise indicated in the Policy, needs 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.

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

Part 3 of the ARHSEPP 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 cost rental dwellings may require a contribution towards the provision of alternative affordable housing.


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

  • The Housing Policy team are available to answer questions by calling Service NSW on 1300 305 695. Alternatively, please send an email with your phone number and the Housing Policy team will call you.

Page last updated: 03/09/2020