NSW Department of Planning and Environment

The housing needs of people across NSW are changing. Our reforms provide for more affordable homes, more choice of homes and create new types of homes to meet these changing needs.

The housing needs of people across NSW are changing. Our reforms provide for more affordable homes, more choice of homes and new types of homes to meet these changing needs.

About the Housing SEPP

The new State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021 (Housing SEPP) began on 26 November 2021.

The Housing SEPP gives incentives to supply affordable and diverse housing in the right places and for every stage of life.

What does the Housing SEPP do?

The Housing SEPP has made the planning system simpler by consolidating 5 former housing-related policies:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (ARHSEPP)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability) 2004 (Seniors SEPP)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) (SEPP 70)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 21 – Caravan Parks
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 36 – Manufactured Home Estates.

Introducing two new housing types to meet changing needs:

  • Co-living housing
  • Independent living units.

Improving the way existing types of homes are delivered including:

  • Boarding houses
  • Build-to-rent housing
  • Seniors housing.

Including the planning rules for:

  • Caravan parks and manufactured home estates
  • Group homes
  • Retention of existing affordable rental housing
  • Secondary dwellings (sometimes known as granny flats)
  • Social and affordable housing
  • Short term rental accommodation (sometimes known as STRA).

The following instruments were made with the Housing SEPP:

Frequently asked questions

General

Why was the Housing SEPP made?

The types of homes people need are changing. More people need access to affordable housing, and more people want to be able to choose between different types of homes to suit their differing needs across all stages of life. The Housing SEPP:

  • brings together five existing SEPPs which share the theme of housing into a single SEPP
  • streamlines some of the provisions from those existing SEPPs
  • updates a number of provisions, particularly those relating to boarding houses and seniors housing
  • introduces two new housing types, co-living housing and independent living units and
  • reduces inconsistencies between similar provisions for different housing types.
How does the Housing SEPP relate to the NSW Housing Strategy: Housing 2041?

The NSW Housing Strategy: Housing 2041 is the NSW Government’s plan to meet the State’s housing needs over the next 20 years. The Housing SEPP supports this strategy by driving the development of affordable and diverse housing to meet the needs of our growing community.

Learn more about the NSW Housing Strategy 2041 (PDF, 10.6 MB) and 2021-22 Action Plan (PDF, 1.9 MB).

What consultation was done when preparing the Housing SEPP?

The development of the Housing SEPP involved extensive stakeholder engagement including:

  • Exhibition of the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) from 29 July to 9 September 2020
  • Exhibition of the draft Housing SEPP in August 2021.

Submissions received in response to these exhibitions have been carefully considered during the finalisation of the Housing SEPP. Submissions reports are available on the Planning Portal.

Why is there no definition for student housing?

Chapter 3 (Educational establishments and child care facilities) of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021 now includes a definition of campus student accommodation which permits accommodation of people associated with the education facility (i.e. not just students).

Off campus student housing developers will use the co-living housing provisions.

I’ve already started working through the planning process for development of a housing type covered by the Housing SEPP. How will my development be affected?

The Housing SEPP includes savings and transitional provisions that may affect developments that were moving through the planning process at the time the SEPP was made.

View the savings and transitional provisions.

What has changed since the Housing SEPP commenced?

A minor amendment was made to the Housing SEPP on 18 March 2022. The changes include:

  • Clarification on where the seniors housing provisions apply
  • Allowing for subdivision of seniors housing in the R2 zone
  • Introduction of a separate pathway to enable LAHC to continue self-assessing seniors housing
  • Clarification of the savings provisions (including the application of site compatibility certificates) in the SEPP.

You can find a copy of this amendment on the NSW legislation website.

Further changes were made on 1 July 2022. These changes support more diverse and affordable housing in NSW. They reflect feedback from our stakeholders following the introduction of the Housing SEPP in November 2021.

Specific changes include:

  • Expanding the area where infill affordable housing bonuses apply from 400 to 800 metres from business and mixed-use zones in the regions
  • Extending the infill affordable housing floorspace bonuses to also apply to shop-top housing
  • Removing the requirement for build-to-rent housing in B3 commercial zones to be readily convertible to another use. Lowering the State Significant Development threshold for build-to-rent housing from $100 million to $50 million in Greater Sydney and $30 million elsewhere
  • Simplifying the minimum lot standards for co-living housing to provide greater consistency
  • Creating a self-assessment pathway for the Aboriginal Housing Office to self-assess developments of up to 60 homes
  • Allowing all seniors living, including independent living unit developments, in R2 Low Density Residential zones.

Further amendments to improve the Housing SEPP were made on 12 August 2022.

The changes include:

  • Amending the savings provisions to save modification applications, where the original consent was granted under a repealed instrument, after the commencement of the Housing SEPP. This will ensure that modification applications are determined under the same EPI that applied to the original proposal
  • Simplifying the minimum lot size requirements for boarding houses to align with the recent changes to the requirements for co-living housing
  • Clarifying the rear setback requirements for secondary dwellings.
What will happen next?

We are now reviewing the provisions relating to group homes, supportive accommodation, caravan parks, affordable housing and manufactured home estates.

We will also continue to monitor the operation of the SEPP and identify necessary changes to support the delivery of diverse and affordable housing and ensure the new and amended provisions are functioning as intended.

 

Boarding houses and co-living housing

What is the difference between boarding houses and co-living housing?

Boarding houses and co-living housing will be similar in terms of their built form and operation. Boarding houses receive a larger density bonus to encourage the delivery of this affordable product.

Boarding houses are a type of affordable housing which must now be managed by registered community housing providers. Co-living housing provides a compact, ready to occupy form of accommodation for a range of people including young professionals and key workers.

Why have you introduced new standards for boarding houses and co-living housing (such as the requirements for communal living areas and communal open space)?

We listened to feedback from stakeholders who told us that smaller private rooms in boarding houses and co-living housing need to be offset by shared spaces like large communal living areas and open space.

Why is there a minimum stay for boarding houses and co-living housing?

Both boarding houses and co-living housing are required to provide residents with a principal place of residence for a minimum of 3 months. This will:

  • ensure that these housing types are not used as short-term residential accommodation or serviced apartments;
  • reduce impacts on the local community by limiting turnover of tenants; and
  • support the development of a sense of community among residents sharing spaces within these developments.
 

Short-term rental accommodation (STRA)

What is short-term rental accommodation (STRA)?

Short-term rental accommodation refers to the leasing of all or part of a legally constructed dwelling for a period of less than three months. The Housing SEPP defines STRA as either hosted or non-hosted accommodation and includes additional fire and safety standards which all STRA dwellings must meet. All STRA dwellings must be registered on the STRA register to confirm they meet the new fire and safety standards.

Read more about the short-term rental accommodation policy.

 

SEPP 70

What has happened to SEPP 70?

The provisions of SEPP 70 have been consolidated into Chapter 2, part 1 of the Housing SEPP. The Guideline for Developing an Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme is still current and can be viewed on our website.

The department has developed the Affordable Housing Viability Tool (XLSM, 254 KB) (the Tool) to assist councils in developing an affordable housing contribution scheme under the Guideline. The Tool is available for public awareness of the factors that would be considered by councils when using the Tool to determine a viable contribution rate. This version of the Tool does not contain any information regarding land prices or development calculations and is not intended to be used for property or development speculation.

For more information, access the Tool's frequently asked questions (PDF, 83 KB).

More information

Learn more about the housing types covered by the Housing SEPP in the list on the right hand side of this page.

For more information about the Housing SEPP, email housingpolicy@planning.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 8289 6701.

Page last updated: 15/08/2022