What does the Housing SEPP do?
The Housing SEPP has simplified planning by combining 5 former policies:
- State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009
- State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability) 2004
- State Environmental Planning Policy No 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) (SEPP 70)
- State Environmental Planning Policy No 21 – Caravan Parks
- State Environmental Planning Policy No 36 – Manufactured Home Estates.
The Housing SEPP includes the planning provisions for:
- boarding houses
- build-to-rent housing
- seniors housing
- caravan parks and manufactured home estates
- group homes
- retention of existing affordable rental housing
- secondary dwellings (granny flats)
- social and affordable housing
- short-term rental accommodation.
Social and affordable housing reforms
The NSW Government has announced new measures to boost the supply of affordable and social housing in the state.
State significant development and affordable housing
Proposed changes to encourage private developers to boost affordable housing and deliver more market housing include:
- residential development valued at more than $75 million will be eligible for a new state significant development (SSD) pathway, providing it includes at least 15 per cent of the total gross floor area as affordable housing
- amendments to the existing in-fill affordable housing provisions under the Housing SEPP to introduce a new floor space bonus of 30 per cent and a height bonus of 30 per cent for residential developments with at least 15 per cent affordable housing (note: affordable housing gross floor area is required to be used for affordable housing purposes for a minimum period of 15 years)
Proposed changes to affordable housing arrangements. Projects with a capital investment value above $75m will be state significant development (SSD).
|Current system (local assessment)||Proposed changes (includes new State assessment for some proposals|
|Assessment||Assessed by councils or planning panels||State significant development where the development has a capital investment value over $75 million and delivers 15% affordable housing|
|Minimum affordable housing requirement||Minimum 20% gross floor area will be used for affordable housing.||Minimum 15% gross floor area will be used for affordable housing.|
|Application area||Accessible area is defined as 800m from train stations and other transport hubs in Greater Sydney, and close to commercial centres elsewhere.||No change|
|Land zoning||Where housing is permitted||No change proposed|
|Floor space ratio bonus|
A sliding scale is used depending on the amount of affordable housing.
|30% if you deliver 15% affordable housing|
|Height bonus||Nil (This has the effect of restricting the floor space ratio bonuses that can be realised on a site).||30%|
|Design requirements||Must comply with apartment design guide||No change proposed|
|Time period||Must be used for affordable housing for 15 years through a registered Community Housing Provider.||No change proposed|
|Non-discretionary standards||Minimum site size requirement|
Minimum landscaping area requirements
Deep soil zones
Sunlight in dwelling requirement of 3 hours
direct access between 9am and 3pm mid-winter
Minimum parking requirements
|No change proposed|
|Overshadowing||As per apartment design guide requirements||No change proposed – overshadowing will still be assessed|
|Location||Does not override Local Environmental Plan permissibility. That is, the proposed use must be permitted with consent on the land.||No change proposed|
|Local considerations||Consent authority must consider local impacts for areas under transition||No change proposed|
Government agency social and affordable housing
Reforms to enable state housing agencies to deliver projects more quickly include:
- a new SSD pathway will enable the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) to deliver residential developments of over 75 homes
- Landcom will also have an SSD pathway for developments of over 75 homes that include at least 50 per cent affordable housing
- LAHC and AHO will be able to self-assess social and affordable developments of up to 75 homes, including residential flat buildings over three storeys where these are permissible
- Landcom will be able to self-assess affordable housing developments of up to 75 homes
- the minimum lot size for dual occupancies being delivered as complying development by LAHC, AHO and community housing providers (CHPs)/Aboriginal Community Housing Providers will be reduced to 400m2 under the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code, making more land available for this type of development
- social and affordable housing projects will be exempt from state infrastructure contributions.
Proposed changes to affordable housing arrangements for Land and Housing Corporation, Aboriginal Housing Office and Landcom
|Current system||Proposed changes|
|Development assessment for residential development by Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC),|
Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) and Landcom (LAHC)
|Development of up to 60 dwellings on a single site – self assessment by LAHC/AHO|
Development over $30million - Councils or planning panels are the consent authority for affordable housing.
Development over $100m by LAHC is State significant development
|Development of up to 75 dwellings on a single site – with self-assessment by LAHC and AHO|
Landcom can also self-assess developments up to 75 dwellings if the development is affordable or social housing
Development over 75 dwellings – the department will assess and determine as State Significant
Landcom will have access to the same SSD pathway if the development is at least 50% affordable housing
|Agencies with affordable housing self-assessment responsibilities||Aboriginal Housing Office|
Land and Housing Corporation
|Aboriginal Housing Office|
Land and Housing Corporation
Landcom, for affordable housing developments
|Location||Does not override Local Environmental Plan (LEP) zoning. That is, the proposed use must be permitted with consent on the land.||No change proposed|
|Maximum building height for self-assessment||9m||11m or the LEP controls if more height is permitted|
|Maximum floor space ratio for self-assessment||LEP controls for most forms of development||0.65:1, or the LEP controls if more floor space ratio is permitted.|
|Minimum car parking for self-assessment||Rates for accessible and not accessible areas, based on number of bedrooms||No change|
|Lot size for dual occupancies||Local Environmental Plan controls||400m2 for complying development delivered by LAHC, AHO, Community Housing Provider or Aboriginal Community Housing Providers, consistent with the Low-rise housing code|
|Design requirements||Must comply with design requirements in published agency guidelines||Agency guidelines to be updated, and prepared for Landcom|
Apartment Design Guide applies to residential development of three or more storeys
|State infrastructure contributions||Social and affordable housing to be exempt from Housing and Productivity contribution||Consistent with Housing and Productivity Contribution Bill|
For more information about the reforms, read our frequently asked questions (PDF, 93 KB).
We continue to review the Housing SEPP provisions for:
- in-fill affordable housing
- group homes and hostels
- temporary supportive accommodation
- seniors independent living unit accessibility standards
- boarding houses
- short-term rental accommodation
- caravan parks and manufactured home estates.
We exhibited an explanation of intended effect between 19 December 2022 and 13 January 2023, setting out a range of proposed changes. Learn more about this review on the NSW Planning Portal.
The design guidance for seniors housing is also under review. To learn more, go to Seniors housing.
Frequently asked questions
We will continue to monitor the Housing SEPP to ensure it is operating as intended and make any changes necessary. We will review it within 3 years.
Short-term rental accommodation refers to leasing all or part of a legally constructed dwelling for less than 3 months. The Housing SEPP defines short-term rental accommodation as either hosted or non-hosted.
All short-term rental accommodation dwellings must register to show they meet added fire and safety standards.
Read more about the policy at short-term rental accommodation.
Affordable housing means housing for very low income households, low income households or moderate income households, being such households as are prescribed by the regulations or as are provided for in an environmental planning instrument.
Chapter 2, Part 1 of the Housing SEPP describes very low income households, low income households or moderate income households as:
- households that have a gross income within the following ranges of percentages of the median household income for Greater Sydney or the Rest of NSW:
- very low income household—less than 50%,
- low income household—50–less than 80%,
- moderate income household—80–120%, and
- pays no more than 30% of the gross income in rent,
- the household
- is eligible to occupy rental accommodation under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, and
- pays no more rent than the rent that would be charged if the household were to occupy rental accommodation under the Scheme.
Affordable housing contribution schemes are council-led policies which set out how, where, and at what rate development contributions can be collected by councils for affordable housing.
The enabling provisions to develop an affordable housing contribution scheme are contained in Part 7, Division 7.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Chapter 2, Part 1 of the Housing SEPP.
The department’s Guideline for Developing an Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme (PDF, 4.2 MB) sets out the process and considerations councils must take into consideration when developing an affordable housing contribution scheme.