Policy for Greater
Housing Diversity

Residential & Specialist Housing
by Zoran

The Department of Planning are proposing a new Housing Diversity State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing Diversity SEPP). The proposed policy “aims to facilitate the delivery of diverse and affordable housing to meet the needs of the states growing population and support the development of a build-to-rent sector”.  This link will take you to the Department’s document explaining the intent of the new Housing Diversity SEPP.

The proposed SEPP will consolidate and update three existing SEPPs:

  • Affordable Rental Housing
  • Housing for Seniors and People with a disability
  • Affordable Housing

New housing definitions will also be included in the Housing Diversity SEPP.

  • Build-To-Rent (BTR) Housing
    BTR housing is large scale, purpose built rental housing that is held in single ownership and professionally managed. High density development located in areas close to transport and services.
  • Student Housing
    Under the current planning system, student accommodation does not have a separate definition and the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP is used to develop student accommodation.
  • Co-Living
    A building held in single ownership that has at least 10 private rooms which may have private kitchen and/or bathroom facilities. Each private room may contain no more than two adults. The building also contains communal loving rooms and other shared facilities like kitchen, bathroom, and laundry.

The new definitions will improve the design process for purpose-built environments as these housing models would previously have been assessed using planning requirements for similar types and, as a result, compromising the end result.  Each of the new land use definitions will incorporate a set of requirements to guide the design quality and introduce relaxed controls to incentivise investors. For example, requirements for car parking will be lowered. The Department’s FAQs provide more information.

The New Housing Diversity SEPP is in line with the NSW Housing strategy which focuses on four themes – Supply, Affordability, Diversity and Resilience. The purpose of the new SEPP, along with the NSW housing strategy, is to provide a framework for the delivery of appropriate and affordable housing types in the correct locations. It is a timely initiative to address the lack of affordable housing options for our growing, and ageing, population.


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