The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code allows one and two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces 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 (the State Policy).
Low rise medium density housing helps 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
Low rise medium density housing as complying development is only allowed in R1, R2, R3, and RU5 zones, where medium density housing is already permitted under a Council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP). The medium density complying development proposal must meet all of the development standards in the State Policy and the Design Criteria contained in the supporting Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for complying development.
Since 2015, the NSW Government has consulted widely with the community, industry and councils about the Code. Following an announcement in April 2018, the Code had a three month deferred commencement before it was released. The deferred commencement provided time for the councils, industry and the community to understand the changes and for the Department to provide training sessions.
After close to three years of consultation, the Code commenced in many council areas on the 6 July 2018. It allows for well-designed medium density housing to be carried out under a complying development approval pathway. Some councils requested further time to prepare for the introduction of the Code. For councils that have requested additional time, a deferral has been granted until 1 July 2019.
An amendment has been made to confirm the additional deferral from the Code to the City of Ryde Council which was announced in May 2018. The special extension was granted for Ryde, due to the special circumstances in Ryde and based on advice from the Greater Sydney Commission. The Code will commence in the Ryde Local Government Area (LGA) on 1 July 2020.
This means that in deferred council areas landowners will not be able to use the Code to lodge a complying development application for dual occupancies, manor houses or terraces until 1 July 2019 (or 1 July 2020 in the City of Ryde). During the deferral period, a council’s local planning controls will continue to apply and landowners may lodge a development application for a dual occupancy or multi dwelling housing if they are allowed under the relevant council LEP.
The following 50 LGAs have been temporarily deferred from the Code:
For all other local government areas, the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code commenced on 6 July 2018.
The new Code 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:
The benefits of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code include:
The Department has prepared three lists of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available to view or download as PDFs.
FAQs Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for complying development (PDF, 840 KB)
Page last updated: 20/02/2019