Boarding houses

Council approval process for boarding houses  

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) was introduced on 31 July 2009 to increase the supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW. 

It provides for the development of boarding houses in some residential and commercial zones. In Randwick, these zones are R2, R3, B1 and B2. Note: For land zoned R2, the site must be within 400m walking distance of a bus stop used regularly between 6am and 9pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 6pm weekends.

The term 'boarding house' relates to a building that:

  • Is wholly or partly let in lodgings;
  • Provides lodgers with a principal place of residence for three months or more;
  • May have shared facilities, such as a communal living room, bathroom, kitchen or laundry;
  • Has rooms, some or all of which may have private kitchen and bathroom facilities, that accommodate one or more lodgers.

However, the definition does not include backpackers' accommodation, group homes, serviced apartments, seniors housing or hotel or motel accommodation.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) provides floor space incentives to encourage the development of new boarding houses, and sets clear standards for their design and construction.

A boarding house must comply with the following controls:

  • If a boarding house has 5 or more boarding rooms, at least one communal living room shall be provided,
  • No boarding room shall have a gross floor area (excluding any area used for the purposes of private kitchen or bathroom facilities) of more than 25 square metres,
  • No boarding room shall be occupied by more than 2 adult lodgers,
  • Adequate bathroom and kitchen facilities shall be available within the boarding house for the use of each lodger,
  • If the boarding house has capacity to accommodate 20 or more lodgers, a boarding room or on site dwelling shall be provided for a boarding house manager,
  • If the boarding house is on land zoned primarily for commercial purposes (B1 or B2), no part of the ground floor of the boarding house that fronts a street shall be used for residential purposes (unless another environmental planning instrument permits such a use),
  • At least one parking space shall be provided for a bicycle, and one shall be provided for a motorcycle, for every 5 boarding rooms.
  • The design of the boarding house shall be compatible with the character of the local area.

For more information on boarding houses, please refer to the Housing NSW website.

Note: All Boarding Houses must be registered with Council

If you would like to construct a boarding house, you will need to lodge a development application in accordance with the requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing).

The following steps are provided to assist you in preparing and lodging a development application.

Step 1: Seek information

You should consider the following documents when preparing you DA:

Environmental Planning Instruments and Development Control Plans

The following list includes the main Environmental Planning Instruments (EPIs) and Development Control Plans (DCPs) that may be applicable to your development:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 55-Remediation of Land
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No 71-Coastal Protection
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004
  • State Environmental Planning Policy No. 1 - Development Standards
  • Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012
  • Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan -2013

To download copies of relevant EPIs and DCPs, please refer to Planning Strategies and Controls.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Boarding Houses are required to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standard 2010.

Guidelines, council policies and other site specific considerations

Council's preservation of trees and vegetation - If there are any trees (covered by Council's preservation of trees and vegetation) that may be affected by your proposed works; Council's Landscape Development Officer will inspect the site and determine whether the impact on the tree is acceptable. You may also be asked to prepare an aborist's report to assess the potential impacts of the development. Your plans must clearly show the location of all trees on and near your site.

Flooding - If your site is located in an area that may be subject to flooding, your development must be designed with suitable freeboards; and must not obstruct any drainage easements or flow paths. For more information about flooding controls, please refer to Flood Management or contact Council's Development Engineers.

Construction near stormwater pipes - Your development should not be located over any drainage easements or stormwater pipes. If your proposal is located near a stormwater line, please contact Council's Development Engineers to discuss your proposal.

Construction near sewer lines - If your proposal involves construction over or near a sewer, please refer to the Sydney Water website to obtain the requirements for construction near a sewer.

Traffic - If your site is located within 30m of a signalised intersection, or involves construction of a new access point to a classified road, the application will need to be referred to the Roads and Maritime services for comment.

Crime prevention - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime prevention strategy that focuses on planning and design. The NSW Police 'Safer By Design' programs are part of this strategy and provide valuable ideas on how to minimise opportunities for crime.

Planning Certificates - A Planning Certificate (issued under Section 149 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act) provides formal advice on land zoning and planning controls applicable to your site.

Step 2: Prepare Plans and Drawings

The following plans may be required:

  • Site Analysis Plan
  • Scaled Plans and Elevations
  • Notification Plans (A4)
  • Survey Plan
  • Landscape Plan
  • Drainage Plan
  • Shadow diagrams
  • Sediment and Erosion Control Plan
  • Streetscape Elevation (if required by Council)
  • Photomontage (if required by Council)

Step 3: Prepare a Statement of Environmental Effects

The following headings may be used to provide the framework for your statement of environmental effects (SEE).

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • The Site and Surrounds
    • Site description
    • Surrounding development
    • Streetscape
    • Public transport
  • Background
    • Design objectives and principals
    • Previous development applications
    • Pre-lodgement consultation
  • Proposed development
    • Description of proposal
    • Compliance with numerical standards
    • Built form and siting
    • Materials and finishes
    • Traffic and Parking
    • Landscaping and open space
    • Stormwater drainage and flooding
    • Services
    • Construction site management
  • Section 79C assessment
    • Assessment of proposal against relevant environmental planning instruments, draft instruments and development control plans
    • SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing)
    • SEPP 55: Remediation of Land
    • SEPP 71: Coastal Protection
    • SEPP (BASIX) 2004
    • Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012
    • Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plans 2013
    • Likely impacts of the proposed development
    • Suitability of the site for the proposed development

The following supplementary reports/details may also be required:

  • Heritage impact assessment report
  • Traffic and Parking report
  • Flood study
  • Hydraulic report
  • Geotechnical report
  • Waste management plan
  • Schedule of colours and finishes
  • Contamination investigation report
  • Asbestos survey 
  • Environmental assessment of Flora and Fauna

For more information on the supplementary reports, please refer to Supplementary report requirements.

Step 4: Complete an application form

You will need to complete an application form & checklist PDF, 346.16 KB, and a  cost summary report PDF, 170.76 KB.

The cost summary report must be prepared in accordance with Council's S94A Development Contributions Plan. If the cost of your development is $500,000 or more, a detailed cost report will need to be prepared by a Registered Quantity Surveyor.

The application form must be signed by all land owners and the applicant.

Note: Section 94 or Section 94A Development Contributions  may be payable for your development.

Step 5: Lodge the DA with Council

The development application must be lodged with the applicable DA fee. Please contact us to obtain a fee quote.

You may lodge your DA directly with Council at our administration building or by online services. A Council Officer will use the Development Application checklist form to check your application. Council will only accept a DA with all necessary information.

  • One (1) copy of the completed DA form and checklist
  • One (1) copy of the cost summary report
  • Two (2) copies of the A4 Notification plans
  • Three (3) copies of the Survey Plan
  • Six (6) copies of all other plans.
  • Six (6) copies of the SEE and other supporting documentation

Additional sets of plans and SEE's will also be required if your application requires referral to any external agencies (e.g. Roads and Maritime Services, Heritage Office, Police, etc)

Last Updated: 25 October 2022
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