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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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It is our aim that all people in New South Wales, including older people, people with disabilities and those on low incomes have access to affordable and well-designed housing.


In 1982, the NSW Government made a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP 5) to support the supply of housing for older people and people with a disability.


In March 2004, the Government replaced SEPP 5 with a new policy focused on balancing growing demand for this type of accommodation with maintaining the character and feel of local neighbourhoods - State Environmental Planning Policy (Seniors Living) 2004.


In September 2007, Amendment No 2 changed the name of the SEPP to State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004. It also introduced site compatibility certificates for seniors housing.


Recent changes to the Seniors Housing SEPP

In October 2018, an amendment was made to change some rules for site compatibility certificates (SCC) and to make the relevant planning panel the determining authority for certificates issued under the Seniors Housing SEPP.


In February 2019, the NSW Government introduced a temporary moratorium that meant that the Seniors Housing SEPP did not apply in Heritage Conservation Areas in Greater Sydney. The moratorium was due to expire in June 2020. However, the moratorium has now been extended until 1 July 2021.


The extension of the temporary moratorium offers councils more time to ensure the seniors housing provisions align with their local strategic plans and to finalise their local housing strategies. It also acknowledges unforeseen impacts due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, which has delayed the completion of this strategic work, in some instances. 


Once councils have completed their strategic planning and community consultation, they will be able to choose how the Seniors Housing SEPP applies in Heritage Conservation Areas in their local government area.


Councils who wish to continue to develop seniors housing in Heritage Conservation Areas before 1 July 2021 will be supported to do so, through further amendment to the Seniors Housing SEPP.


Existing permissibility under the Seniors Housing SEPP will continue to apply if development applications and an SCC have been lodged prior to the initial amendment being made in February 2019, or an SCC has been issued but not yet acted upon prior to the amendment being made.


Note: the Seniors Housing SEPP is currently under review. Anyone who wishes to make a comment on its application, including the temporary moratorium, can do so by email at 


Current Seniors Housing SEPP

The current policy and supporting resources are:


The Department’s register provides the status and details of all existing SCCs that are publicly available.


Supporting affordable rental housing

In addition to housing for seniors and people with disabilities, the NSW Government has also an affordable rental housing state environmental policy to help increase the amount and diversity of affordable housing in the state.


Visit Affordable Rental Housing to download fact sheets, a community guide, browse the SEPP, and read detailed information aimed at practitioners.


More information

  • The Housing Policy team are available to answer questions at Service First on 1300 305 695.
  • Alternatively, you can email the team directly at for queries about State Environmental Planning Policy No. 70 – Affordable Housing Revised Schemes, the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 and the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability) 2004 as well as for queries about caravan parks and manufactured home estates.

Page last updated: 26/06/2020