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Boarding Houses and Affordable Rental Housing

What is a boarding house?

A boarding house is a residential building with individual units, and may have shared amenities, such as communal kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. However, there are many new generation boarding houses that have self-contained units with individual bathrooms and kitchens. This type of accommodation is targeted towards young professionals, students, and the elderly who may have a difficult time finding affordable housing options in traditional apartment units.

What is the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP?           

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (AHSEPP) was introduced to address New South Wales’ need for affordable housing due to the significant amount of people on affordable housing waiting lists. The AHSEPP provides a way for developers to provide affordable housing by providing additional “bonus” floor space in new boarding house developments and establishes clear design standards for new boarding houses.

Where can I build a boarding house under the AHSEPP?

 AHSEPP allows for new generation boarding house development in the following zones:

Zone R1 General Residential,

Zone R2 Low Density Residential,

Zone R3 Medium Density Residential,

Zone R4 High Density Residential,

Zone B1 Neighbourhood Centre,

Zone B2 Local Centre,

Zone B4 Mixed Use.


State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009

Boarding houses are only permitted in Zone R2 Low Density Residential if they are considered accessible and within proximity to public transport options. A recent amendment to the AHSEPP limits the number of rooms in a boarding house in Zone R2 Low Density Residential to 12.

What is the application process for a boarding house?

The standard development application process applies to boarding house developments under the AHSEPP. Development applications must address all matters for consideration applicable to a boarding house development. Where the local council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and the AHSEPP are inconsistent, the provisions in the AHSEPP will override the LEP to the extent of the inconsistency.

Consent authorities have some degree of flexibility in their assessment of boarding houses under Section 30A Character of the Local Area of the AHSEPP states that:

“A consent authority must not consent to development to which this Division applies unless it has taken into consideration whether the design of the development is compatible with the character of the local area.”

If you are interested in building a boarding house under the AHSEPP, get in contact with the experts at Precise Planning.

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