Changes to regulation of rooming accommodation, dwellings houses and zone purpose statements
These amendments further contribute to addressing the current housing affordability and supply challenges that communities are facing across Queensland.
These amendments to the Planning Regulation refine the regulation of small-scale rooming accommodation and dwelling houses in lower density residential zones and provide state-wide consistency in relation to the types of housing that can be expected within residential zones.
The amendments to the Planning Regulation were approved on 1 December 2022 and came into effect on Friday 2 December 2022.
These amendments do not remove the requirement to obtain any other relevant approvals, such as for building works, plumbing or drainage or for the registration and accreditation needed to lawfully operate rooming accommodation in Queensland.
More information about these changes is available from the FAQs below.
Frequently asked questions
Changes about rooming accommodation
Rooming accommodation is residential accommodation where each resident can only occupy one or more rooms on the premises as agreed, rather than the whole premises. Other rooms within the premises, facilities, furniture, or equipment outside of the residents’ rooms are shared with the other residents at the premises. Rooming accommodations may also include a manager’s residence, an office, or facilities to provide food or other services to residents as subordinate uses to the premises. These uses are required to only service the residents of the rooming accommodation.
Rooming accommodation is defined in the Planning Regulation 2017 (Planning Regulation).
The changes to the Planning Regulation will allow for small-scale rooming accommodation uses to not require planning approval (also called a material change of use approval) from the local government in lower density residential zones, where certain requirements can be met.
This change is intended to streamline approvals for this type of housing to provide greater housing diversity in the low density residential zone, low-medium density residential zone and general residential zone across Queensland.
The change does not affect the need for rooming accommodation uses to have in place all other necessary approvals, such as for building works, plumbing or drainage or for the registration and accreditation needed to lawfully operate in Queensland.
The changes are subject to a three year sunset clause, which means the changes will expire unless the sunset clause is amended. This will provide time to assess if the changes have worked as intended.
If a proposed rooming accommodation development does not meet the requirements which are included in the Planning Regulation, then a local government can require planning approval for rooming accommodation uses.
If you have an existing, lawfully operating rooming accommodation use, you don’t have to do anything.
If you lodged a planning application with local government prior to the change, you are encouraged to speak with your local government’s planning department to see if you no longer require planning approval. You may have the option of withdrawing your application and getting a partial or full refund for your application as per the fees and charges schedule of the local government. It is recommended you talk to the local government about this.
The change does not affect payment of infrastructure charges. Infrastructure charges will continue to apply to new developments as per the respective local government fees and changes schedules (or Infrastructure Charges Resolution), irrespective of whether the proposed rooming accommodation requires planning approval.
The changes allow for rooming accommodation uses to not require planning approval (subject to meeting certain requirements) in lower density residential zones across Queensland. This means that individual developments do not require consultation with the community.
If the proposed development does not meet the requirements in the Planning Regulation, the local government planning scheme will determine whether planning approval is required, and whether it requires public consultation.
There is no change to the fire safety or building framework as a result of the amendments. However, owners and operators will need to ensure their rooming accommodation complies with building code requirements so accommodation for renters is safe, as well as complying with any other local government or legislative requirements.
For example, if an existing dwelling house is converted to rooming accommodation, then additional fire safety requirements of the building code will apply.
For information about any additional requirements, advice should be sought from a building certifier. A list of licensed certifiers can be found here.
Changes to the low density and low-medium density residential zones
The changes to the Planning Regulation update the zone purpose statements for the low density residential zone and low-medium density residential zone. The purpose of this change is to provide a consistent position on the types of housing expected in these zones.
Many planning schemes do not support a variety of dwelling types in lower density zones. The updated zone purpose statements will encourage a wider variety of dwelling types in lower density residential zones by clarifying the range of dwelling types that can be expected in these areas.
For more information on Queensland zoning, click here.
The changes to the Planning Regulation clarify that all low density residential built forms are supported in the low density residential zone and all low to medium density dwelling types are supported in the low-medium density residential zones.
Changes to dwelling houses in the high density and medium density residential zones
The changes to the Planning Regulation allow local governments to require a planning approval for dwelling house developments in the high density residential zone and medium density residential zone, if local governments choose to do so.
This will allow for a more efficient use of land by allowing local government to require a planning approval for a dwelling house in these areas.
The purpose of the high density residential zone is to mainly provide for high density multiple dwellings. The purpose of the medium density residential zone is to mainly provide for medium density multiple dwellings. While low density housing types may still be developed in the high density residential zone and medium density residential zone, these uses are not preferred in these zones.
Development of lower density dwelling types in the high density residential zone and medium density residential zone may therefore require a planning approval be obtained from the local government.
To learn more about this zone, see high density residential zone and medium density residential zone.
Changes to how overlays apply
The changes to the Planning Regulation clarify which overlays in local government planning schemes can be applied to require planning approval for dwelling houses and rooming accommodation uses in lower density residential areas.
Prior to the changes, where any overlay applied to a premises, local government could require a planning application for a dwelling house.
The changes are intended to refine the circumstances where an overlay can require planning approval for dwelling houses and rooming accommodation in lower density residential zones. This change is intended to streamline approvals for these housing types.
Last updated: 02 Dec 2022