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The Northern Beaches is one of Sydney’s most beautiful but least affordable areas to live, which puts stress on individual households and has a significant impact on attracting key workers to the area. Council is working with all levels of government to deal with this complex challenge.

What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing is about having a range of housing options people can afford without causing them difficulty in purchasing other necessities. A common measure is not having to spend more than 30% of a person’s income per week.

Affordable housing can take any form, including single dwelling houses, granny flats, units, boarding houses, shared accommodation or social housing. 

What is Council Doing About Housing Affordability?

Council’s Affordable Housing Policy proposes working more closely with the State and Federal government to find solutions, waive section 94A development contributions for any part of a development proposal with affordable rental housing and to establish clear targets for affordable housing.

Local Strategic Planning Statement

Councils Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS), contains a number of principles and actions in relation to social and affordable housing, including seeking a minimum of 10 per cent affordable rental housing to be included in new planning proposals, consistent with Council’s existing Affordable Housing Policy.

Local Housing Strategy

Council is developing a Local Housing Strategy (LHS) which outlines how and where future housing will be delivered to meet our community's needs over the next 20 years. Part of this work includes undertaking an affordable housing needs analysis and to explore mechanisms to deliver more affordable market-based housing.

Council has also prepared a draft Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme and draft Affordable Housing Tenancy Guidelines.

Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme

A key element goal of Council’s Affordable Housing Policy was the inclusion of the Northern Beaches LGA in State Environmental Planning Policy No.70 (SEPP70), which was achieved in April 2018.

SEPP 70 identifies the need for affordable housing across the whole of the State, describes the kinds of households for which affordable housing may be provided, and establishes requirements for the imposition of conditions of consent relating to the provision of affordable housing.

SEPP 70 enables Councils to include affordable rental housing requirements in Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) in areas subject to zoning “uplift” through an affordable housing contribution scheme.

Following this, in February 2019, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPI&E) finalised guidelines for developing an affordable housing contribution scheme.

This allowed all Councils in the State to develop affordable rental housing programs under SEPP 70.

Council has now developed a draft affordable housing contribution scheme consistent with DPI&E’s guidelines. The Scheme would allow Council to collect developer contributions to provide affordable housing either as complete dwellings or as an equivalent monetary contribution.

The Scheme will apply initially to the Frenchs Forest Planned Precinct, however may be extended to other areas that are rezoned or are subject to increases in residential density in the future. Each area will be subject to a separate feasibility analysis to determine the required contribution rate.

Affordable Housing Tenancy Guidelines

Upon commencement of the Scheme, tenancy guidelines are required to manage the allocation and management of tenancies within Council owned affordable housing dwellings.

These guidelines have been developed, which Council resolved on 28 May 2019 to exhibit for public comment. Exhibition of the Guidelines will occur during the public exhibition of the draft Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme (which has not occurred to date).

The objective of draft Affordable Housing Tenancy Guidelines is to outline the requirements for the allocation and management of tenancies for properties within the Northern Beaches Council Affordable Housing Portfolio.

It also sets out criteria for eligibility, rent, management of waiting lists and asset management.

It is intended the full cost of the program, including day-to-day property and cyclical maintenance, tenancy management, administration fees and major upgrading works is fully covered by rent revenue collected by the Housing Manager (Council or its nominated agent)

Affordable Housing on any Council-owned Land

Any proposals for the redevelopment of Council-owned property will be assessed and considered against the directions in the LHS in the same way as proposals for private land.

Once Council has obtained affordable housing stock it will tender for a Community Housing Provider to manage and deliver affordable rental housing.