In order for a Responsible Authority and landowner to enter into meaningful discussion on the requirements of an agreement, some early planning is necessary to determine the level of need for affordable housing in a municipality.
Many Responsible Authorities will already have in place a Housing Strategy that identifies the relevant needs of households and dwelling types and these will provide useful tools in assessing housing need within a defined location.
Where a Strategy or Plan is not in place, other resources may provide useful information.
- Any value created by the planning process or other mechanism or incentive the Responsible Authority may provide to support an affordable housing outcome.
- Approach, definitions and other matters set out within this Guidance.
- Suitability of the site location and built form proposition for affordable housing.
- Site constraints, the priority and cost implications of any other contributions that are sought beyond those otherwise required under the relevant planning controls, and the planning circumstances including the planning application history and stage.
- The landowner’s willingness to consider including an affordable housing component.
- The value of incentives that could support the viability of the outcome and the way this value may be utilised to deliver different affordable housing outcomes.
- The diversity of affordable housing types that the Responsible Authority prioritises based on the assessment of local housing need, and the corresponding cost impact of delivering different dwelling types, sizes and outcomes for different end recipients.
- End recipient interest, capacity (both financial and administrative) and constraints to operate effectively as owners or managers of the affordable housing being proposed.
- The appropriateness of the affordable housing being delivered and managed on-site (including consideration to long-term financial viability of ownership or management for the end recipient).
- Whether it may be appropriate that an agreed contribution to affordable housing is instead provided on another site or in another form (on the advice and agreement of the end recipient) and the process to manage this contribution.
In developing its position and considering the amount and type of affordable housing that may be agreed, the Responsible Authority should not assume that investment by third party end recipients of housing is possible. To maximise the affordable housing outcome, consideration could be given to arrangements which could be structured to enable an end recipient of affordable housing to further leverage the outcome agreed between the Responsible Authority and landowner.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Responsible Authority can seek to include a condition on a planning permit for the provision of affordable housing. As for any condition on a permit, the responsible authority should have evidence to support the requirements and must be able to defend the condition in VCAT if the applicant appeals the conditions.
Throughout the planning permit process, planning staff should have explored and, to the extent possible, gained agreement with the applicant, on what would or wouldn’t be included in an Affordable Housing Agreement secured by way of a planning permit condition for a section 173 agreement.
Depending on the arrangements, the requirement for the provision of affordable housing can significantly change the viability of a development. Any requirements should be identified early and clearly and worked through with the applicant.