A NSW Government website

Retention of existing affordable housing

The Housing SEPP incorporates provisions of the (now repealed) State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (ARHSEPP) to encourage retention and mitigate the loss of existing affordable housing. These provisions enable local councils to impose a levy on a development that will result in the loss of existing low-cost rental housing through demolition, alteration, change of use or subdivision.

The provisions of the Housing SEPP allow councils to levy monetary contributions to offset the loss of low-rental dwellings at any time within the 5 years preceding the lodgement of a development application. Applicants are responsible for demonstrating that a building that is proposed to be demolished, altered or strata subdivided did not contain low-rental dwellings at the relevant time.

Frequently asked questions

How do I identify a residential flat building containing a low-rental dwelling?

A low-rental dwelling is one rented at or below the median level for that type of dwelling in the same local government area at any time in the 24-month period preceding lodgement of the development application. Median rent levels are published in the Housing Rent and Sales dashboard.

The Guidelines for Retention of Existing Affordable Rental Housing (PDF, 168 KB), October 2009 detail how to implement these provisions, including when and how to impose a levy and what to do with the funds that are collected. The guideline is under review and, until such time as an updated version is available, any reference in that guidelines to the former State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 can be taken to mean Chapter 2, Part 3 (Retention of existing affordable rental housing) of the Housing SEPP.

Where do contributions for loss of existing affordable housing apply?

Contributions can only be imposed within the Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong regions.

Additional resources and contact information:

For more information, email [email protected] or phone 02 8289 6700.