The NSW Government is considering reforms to cap the number of boarding rooms allowed in a boarding house development in low-density residential zones to a maximum of 12 per site.

Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, said the changes had been drafted in response to community concerns about local impacts of some boarding house developments.

“Tough rules already exist governing the development of boarding houses to ensure they are only approved where they are close to public transport, compatible with council rules on density and building height, and where there’s adequate additional parking,” says Roberts.

“Establishing a maximum number of boarding rooms per site in low-density zones will help to better manage any amenity impacts of boarding house developments on adjoining and nearby properties.”

According to the Property Owners Association of NSW, boarding houses cover less than 3 percent of the accommodation market and meet the accommodation needs of a diverse groups of residents ranging from students, guest house residents, single people, older men, lodgers who seek onsite management services, contract workers, those who want a community, those requiring flexibility.

Roberts says the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (ARHSEPP) had already been amended earlier this year to address concerns about off-street parking.

“The AHRSEPP was originally introduced in 2009 to increase the supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing throughout NSW,” says Roberts.

“However, it’s clear that the size, scale and proliferation of boarding house developments in the R2 zone is not in line with what was envisaged when the ARHSEPP was introduced.”

“We already made changes in June this year, in response to community concerns, to increase car parking standards to 0.5 spaces per boarding room in all locations,” he says.

“The proposed changes we are releasing today support the Government’s commitment to keep listening and to make sure communities are at the heart of planning policy.”