What is a Boarding House?

The Local Environmental Plan defines Boarding Houses as:

boarding house means a building that:

(a)  is wholly or partly let in lodgings, and

(b)  provides lodgers with a principal place of residence for 3 months or more, and

(c)  may have shared facilities, such as a communal living room, bathroom, kitchen or laundry, and

(d)  has rooms, some or all of which may have private kitchen and bathroom facilities, that accommodate one or more lodgers,

but does not include backpackers’ accommodation, a group home, hotel or motel accommodation, seniors housing or a serviced apartment.

In recent times boarding houses have been built by development that consist of large buildings that resemble unit blocks. These buildings consist of studio apartments with kitchen facilities and have a high level of finishes. These boarding houses are commonly known as new generation boarding houses and are generally targeted towards singles or couples that are employed with some of these building targeting essential service vocations such as nurses, teachers, police and fire fighters.

Where can I build a Boarding House

Boarding houses can be built in most residential zones but they are restricted within the R2 Low-Density Residential zone within Sydney to areas located within an “accessible area”. An accessible area is defined as: 

accessible area means land that is within:

(a)  800 metres walking distance of a public entrance to a railway station or a wharf from which a Sydney Ferries ferry service operates, or

(b)  400 metres walking distance of a public entrance to a light rail station or, in the case of a light rail station with no entrance, 400 metres walking distance of a platform of the light rail station, or

(c)  400 metres walking distance of a bus stop used by a regular bus service (within the meaning of the Passenger Transport Act 1990) that has at least one bus per hour servicing the bus stop between 06.00 and 21.00 each day from Monday to Friday (both days inclusive) and between 08.00 and 18.00 on each Saturday and Sunday.

Outside of Sydney within the R2 Zone you can build boarding houses where the property is located within 400 metres walking distance of land within Zone B2 Local Centre or Zone B4 Mixed Use.

Where can I get help?

Boarding houses are a difficult development to gain approval for. They are often very controversial and it is therefore best to have an experienced town planner on board with you to help guide you through the process and handle everything. We have extensive experience with boarding house approvals on both sides of the desk. We have worked on boarding house approvals as Council Town Planners as well as prepared and obtained approval for boarding houses for our clients. We have successfully challenged boarding houses on behalf of local residents which resulted in the refusal of the application. We have experience in all aspects of boarding houses.

Let’s work together 

Have a chat with one of our experienced planners today!


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