Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)

The housing SEPP introduces 2 new types of housing – co-living housing and independent living units. The SEPP updates the planning rules for social and affordable housing, boarding houses, build to rent housing and seniors housing. All these types of housing can be built in the Sutherland Shire.

-Boarding Houses and Co-Living are similar in built form and operation. Room sizes are the same – 12square metres for a single room and 16 square metres for a double room with a maximum of 25 square metres, excluding kitchen and bathrooms. The minimum stay for each is 3months to ensure they are not used as short term accommodation. Both must have a site manager or one who is contactable 24/7. Co-living housing receives a floor space bonus of 10%, can be built and managed by private developers and can charge market rents.

Co-living is required to provide larger indoor and outdoor communal spaces than boarding houses to encourage a sense of community. It is intended as accommodation for key workers.

-Boarding Houses receive a larger floor space bonus 20% than co-living housing as the government wants to encourage more affordable housing. Boarding houses receive a 25% floor space bonus if located in a zone where residential flat buildings are permitted and located near public transport. Boarding houses must be used for affordable housing in perpetuity and must be run by a registered community housing provider. 0.2 parking spaces per room is required if the location is in an accessible area within 800metres of a transport hub such as a station. 0.5 spaces are required elsewhere. Boarding houses are limited to 12 rooms in R2 Low Density zone and are no longer mandatory in the Low Density zone.

-Build to Rent Housing is a large scale, purpose built rental housing in single ownership in residential flat zones or around large centres. Buildings must contain at least 50 dwellings and be managed by a single entity. The building can’t be subdivided into separate dwellings or rented or sold in the private market for 15 years. If the building is in a B3 Centre zone (e.g. Miranda Centre) it can never be subdivided. Eligible buildings receive a 50% reduction in land value for the purpose of calculating tax.

-Affordable Housing is intended for very low, low and moderate income households including key workers, who may not be able to afford to live in the area. Affordable rental housingcan be owned by private entities and investors, councils, charities or registered Community Housing Providers. Residents pay no more than 30% of their gross income in rent. Floor space bonuses are available if at least 20% of the gross floor area of the building will be used for affordable housing. Affordable housing dwellings built by private developers must be managed by a community housing provider for 15years, after which dwellings can be sold or rented on the open market. Affordable Housing built by community housing providers must remain Affordable Housing in Perpetuity.

-Social Housing The Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) will be allowed to self-assess some Boarding House proposals if used for affordable housing.

-Seniors Housing To encourage seniors housing developments in high density areas, the State Government is offering incentives of bonus floor space between 15-25%.

The State Government is currently considering further incentives to increase the supply of affordable and social housing.

For further details see Housing SEPP - NSW Department of Planningor NSW Department of Planning and Environment www.planning.nsw.gov.au-FAQs-Policy and Legislation-Housing-State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021

Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (Dual Occupancies, Terraces and Manor Houses) 

-The Code came into force on 1 JULY 2020. 

-The Code allows some types of medium density housing to be assessed as "Complying Development" - a fast track approval system with no requirements for a development application, no notification of neighbours and no right of community objection. 

-The code proposes that dual occupancies, terraces and “manor houses” – 2 storey residential flat buildings with 3 or 4 dwellings on one lot, be assessed as Complying Development. Complying Development is a fast track planning and approval system. 

-The Code contains set standards for building height, site coverage and landscaping. If the proposed developments comply with these standards and each dwelling has a street frontage, they can be approved by a private certifier within 20 days with no requirement for a development application, no notification of neighbours and no right for community to object. 

-The Code would override Council’s LEP ( Local Environmental Plan) and DCP (Draft Control Plan) standards. It allows significantly greater densities and significantly less landscaped area than the standards in LEP 2015 and DCP 2015. It will result in development that leaves little space for landscaping and canopy trees. It will increase adverse impacts on neighbours. 

-Council considers that imposition of the code is not warranted as LEP 2015 has delivered a strong supply of medium density housing across the Shire. 

Council is particularly concerned about the potential impact on the low density zones. 

-A Council LEP amendment to require minimum lot sizes of 600 square metres for dual occupancies and 1200 square metres for town houses in the R2 Low Density zone and a minimum lot size of 700 square metres for dual occupancies in the R4 Environmental Living Zone came into effect in February 2019. 

-Despite the amendment it will still be possible to build dual occupancies on 19,124 lots in the R2 and E4 Zones. 

-“Council was successful in its request for a minimum lot size of 900 square metres for manor houses. 

-In 2021 Council was granted a 2 year exemption from the floor space controls for dual occupancies in the R2 Low density zones. This will expire in October 2023 and Council is Lobbying the Department of Planning and Environment to make the exemption permanent.”  

Click here for more details on 'CHANGES TO HOW COUNCIL OPERATES' page.  

Contact NSW Department of Planning. 92286111 for further information on any of these issue 


The Greater Sydney Region Plan and 5District Plans are now in force.

The South District includes Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River and Sutherland Shire council areas.

Miranda and Sutherland designated as strategic centres.

LEP 2015 allows for more than double the 10,100 new dwellings that the State Government requested.

Miranda and Sutherland have been nominated as areas with potential for more high density development.

Click here to view South District Plan which includes the Sutherland Shire.

The draft SOUTH DISTRICT PLAN MAY AlSO BE VIEWED via Greater Sydney Commission



The State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for Education and Childcare Facilities streamlines the approval process with the intention of saving time and money. 

-It overrides council controls for development of new childcare centres except for controls relating to building height,rear and side setbacks and car parking. 

-There are no restrictions on lot size, lot depth or lot frontage. 

-New childcare centres may be located at any distance from existing or proposed childcare facilities. 

-There is no requirement to demonstrate whether there is a need or demand for a new childcare centre. 

-Proposed childcare centres must comply with the Childcare Planning guidelines of the SEPP. 



In August and September 2017, the NSW State Government introduced new rules for the determination of development applications. The changes are mandatory for all councils in Sydney and Wollongong and are intended to combat the risk of corruption. 

The State Government has stripped councillors in Sydney and Wollongong of the power to consider and vote on development applications. Development applications under 5 million dollars will be determined by council staff. 

The following types of development applications will be determined by Local Planning Panels.  

See council page for more details on how developments will be determined