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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (Code) allows well designed dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces (up to two storeys) to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval. A complying development approval can be issued within 20 days if the proposal complies with all the relevant requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP).


Dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces can help housing affordability by providing smaller homes on smaller lots that still provide all the amenities of a single dwelling and can accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles and needs, including growing families or empty nesters.


Dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces built as complying development are only allowed in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where this type of housing are already permitted under a council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP).


A development proposal must meet all of the development standards in the Code and the Design Criteria in the supporting Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for complying development.


The Code commenced on 6 July 2018 and is now operating in 82 council areas across the State.


Read the Code


Independent review and ongoing implementation

The Code is working well in 82 council areas across the State, and some councils granted a temporary deferral have used that time successfully to amend their local planning controls to prepare for the Code.


In mid-2019, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces requested an independent review to assess progress on the Code to date, identify impediments to the Code’s delivery in deferred areas, and make recommendations on the appropriate pathway forward to finalise the Code’s implementation.


Those councils with a temporary deferral are listed below.


Professor Roberta Ryan conducted the independent review of the Code. The report can be read below:


The independent review identified strong support for an increase in housing supply and diversity that the Code seeks to provide. It also found that enhancing local character is important to the success of the Code.


The report recommended the temporary deferral of the Code for the 45 deferred councils be extended to 1 July 2020. This is to allow those councils time to complete their strategic planning, including Local Strategic Planning Statements and Local Housing Strategies and update their LEPs, and identify and map areas of special local character.


NSW Government’s response to the Independent Review

The NSW Government remains committed to delivering more diverse housing to meet the needs of a growing and changing population. It is also committed to promoting more ‘missing middle’ development, such as low-rise dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces through a strategically led planning system.


As recommended by the independent review, the implementation of the Code has been deferred until 1 July 2020 for the existing 45 deferred councils. The extension will allow councils to progress their strategic planning initiatives and demonstrate how they intend to meet their local housing needs. The Department will also use the time to work closely with councils to identify and map areas of exceptional local character.

The following council areas have been temporarily deferred from the Code until 1 July 2020:

  • Bathurst Regional
  • Bayside
  • Bellingen
  • Blue Mountains
  • Burwood
  • Byron
  • Camden
  • City of Campbelltown
  • City of Canada Bay
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Central Coast
  • City of Coffs Harbour
  • Cumberland
  • Georges River
  • City of Hawkesbury
  • Hilltops
  • Hornsby
  • Hunter’s Hill
  • Inner West
  • Kiama
  • City of Liverpool
  • Mid–Coast
  • Mid–Western Regional
  • Moree Plains
  • Mosman
  • Northern Beaches
  • City of Parramatta
  • Penrith City
  • City of Randwick
  • City of Ryde
  • City of Shellharbour
  • City of Shoalhaven
  • Snowy Monaro
  • Strathfield
  • Sutherland Shire
  • City of Sydney
  • Tamworth Regional
  • The Hills Shire
  • Tweed
  • Upper Lachlan Shire
  • City of Willoughby
  • Wingecarribee Shire
  • Wollondilly
  • City of Wollongong
  • Woollahra
  • Yass Valley.


The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 Part 3B Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code is available at the Legislation NSW website:


Read the Code


Benefits of the Code

The benefits of the Code include:

  • increasing the supply of housing across NSW, especially in Sydney, which will help improve housing affordability,
  • better meet the needs of our changing population by providing a broader range of housing options to suit different lifestyle needs,
  • help to maintain the local character of neighbourhoods with a two storey height limit. This will ensure the size and scale of development will fit into established streetscapes and new release areas, and
  • ensure a consistent approach to the good design of medium density housing across NSW.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Department has prepared three lists of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available to view or download as PDFs:

Page last updated: 25/10/2019