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Affordable Rental Housing


The NSW Government’s State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 is designed to increase the amount and diversity of affordable housing in NSW. 

The Affordable Rental Housing SEPP (AHSEPP):

  • Encourages partnerships between private and not-for-profit housing providers to deliver a new supply of affordable housing
  • Assists in the provision of affordable housing closer to major employment areas, consistent with the State Plan
  • Mitigates against the loss of any existing affordable housing
  • Supports innovative affordable housing styles, including granny flats and new generation boarding houses
  • Delivers good urban design outcomes.

Amendments to the AHSEPP

The NSW Government announced changes to the policy on 20 May 2011.

The changes involve a two staged approach to the review of the AHSEPP: 

Stage 1 - Amendments to the AHSEPP

On 20 May 2011, changes were made to the AHSEPP to amend and remove certain provisions, specifically those applying in low density residential areas

Stage 2 - Affordable Housing Taskforce, Affordable Housing Choice SEPP and Local Affordable Housing Strategies

Stage 2 will involve the formation of an Affordable Housing Taskforce, and the development of an Affordable Housing Choice SEPP

For more information on the changes, see the NSW Planning & Infrastructure website.

Types of Affordable Accommodation

Granny Flats

The SEPP refers to this type of housing as secondary dwellings. A granny flat is a self-contained extension of the family home that is:

  • Established in conjunction with a house and is either within the house, or attached to the house, or separate from the house
  • On the same lot of land as the principal house and is not on a separate lot, in a strata plan or in a community title scheme.

Granny flats are now permitted in all residential zones subject to meeting the criteria set out in the SEPP. A granny flat may occur either with DA consent, or as complying development. 

For further information visit the NSW Planning & Environment website.

Boarding Houses

The SEPP ensures that people who need this type of affordable and flexible accommodation will have greater choice. It will also provide a higher standard of accommodation and protect community standards. 

Boarding house development is now permissible in all residential and appropriate business zones. The SEPP sets standards in relation to height, floor space and car parking.


Council has produced a multi-lingual fact sheet outlining the rights and responsibilities of residents, lodgers and owners of boarding houses.

Illegal Boarding Houses

It is illegal to operate a boarding house without Council consent. If you suspect a property in the City of Ryde is being unlawfully used as a boarding house, please report it to Council.

Other Accommodation

For further information on the other accommodation permitted under the SEPP refer to the Affordable Rental Housing page on the NSW Planning & Infrastructure website.


Last updated on 20 July 2016