NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Co-living housing

Image showing co-living housing

Co-living housing is a new type of housing that is gaining popularity around the world. Key features of this type of housing include:

  • small private rooms complemented by shared indoor and outdoor spaces, which encourage residents to come together to relax and socialise
  • private and shared spaces that are fully furnished and ready-to-occupy
  • a sense of community that is actively encouraged by a manager, who is responsible for managing shared spaces.

Co-living housing is typically built in highly connected areas, where residents have convenient access to work, study, and recreation opportunities. It often appeals to young professionals and key workers such as nurses, teachers and police but can attract a wide variety of people.

 

The planning framework for co-living housing

Co-living housing was introduced to the NSW planning system when the Housing SEPP was made. Before that, these types of development were delivered using the boarding house provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.

 

Under the Housing SEPP, co-living housing:

  • must provide a primary place of residence for all occupants – it may not be used for short-term tourist and visitor accommodation
  • has private room sizes from 12 m2 for a single person or 16 m2 for a couple to 25 m2, excluding any space used for private kitchen or bathroom facilities.
  • may have as few as 6 private rooms but most co-living housing developments will typically have around 30 to 40 private rooms
  • must provide indoor and outdoor communal space for residents to relax and socialise
  • must provide adequate kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities for all residents, either as private or shared facilities
  • must have a manager, who will be responsible for implementing the plan of management for the property. The manager does not have to be always on site, but must be contactable by phone 24/7.
 

View the full co-living housing provisions of the Housing SEPP.

 

Frequently asked questions

What changes have been made to co-living housing since the Housing SEPP was made?

Amendments were made on 1 July 2022 to simplify the minimum lot size controls for co-living housing.

The minimum lot size for co-living housing on land zoned R2 is now 600 square metres and 800 square metres on all other land.

The minimum bicycle and motorcycle parking requirements for co-living housing have also been removed from the Housing SEPP. Applicants will now need to demonstrate that they are providing adequate bicycle and motorcycle parking on site.

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

Boarding houses and co-living housing are similar in terms of their built form and operation. Boarding houses receive a larger density bonus to encourage people to build this type of affordable housing.

Boarding houses are a type of affordable housing that must be managed by registered community housing providers. Co-living housing provides a compact, ready-to-occupy form of accommodation for a range of people.

Co-living housing doesn’t provide affordable housing. Why does it attract a density bonus?

A density bonus of 10% applies to co-living housing.

This will support the co-living housing industry as it transitions to the new provisions and will ensure ongoing supply of this important rental housing product. Co-living housing will be particularly important as part of the state’s COVID recovery process.

The ongoing need for the density bonus will be considered as part of a review of the Housing SEPP, to be completed within 3 years from the date of commencement of the SEPP.

Some standards for co-living housing (such as the requirements for communal living areas and communal open space) seem quite high. Why is this?

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

Why is there a maximum room size for co-living housing? Larger rooms will provide better amenity for residents.

It is important to maintain a clear distinction between apartments in a residential flat building and co-living housing. One way this has been done is by setting maximum sizes for private rooms in co-living housing.

The smaller room size for co-living housing will be offset by the shared spaces and communal facilities provided in these developments.

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

Co-living housing provides residents with a principal place of residence for a minimum of 3 months. This will:

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

More information

For more information, email housingpolicy@planning.nsw.gov.au or call 02 8289 6701.

Page last updated: 15/08/2022