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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

Heritage conservation areas moratorium

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 2022.


The extension of the 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 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 2022 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.


Site compatibility certificates in the metropolitan rural area

On 29 July 2020 the Seniors Housing SEPP was amended to prevent new proposals for seniors housing on land within the Metropolitan Rural Area of Greater Sydney.


The amendments take effect immediately, however development applications and applications for site compatibility certificates that have already been lodged will continue to be assessed and determined.


The “State Environmental Planning Policy—Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability, Metropolitan Rural Areas Exclusion Zone Maps” can be viewed on the Planning Portal.


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.


More information

Page last updated: 16/07/2021