The draft Scottish Planning Policy 3: Planning for Housing (SPP3) encourages councils to work together to "better assess and identify" housing need.
Housing demand will be embedded into long-term development plans, according to the Scottish Government's proposed policy.
Planning minister Stewart Stevenson said: "Scotland needs more homes. If Scotland is to benefit from more sustainable economic growth, we must build more homes to higher standards. A modern, efficient, planning system is key to unlocking that.
Communities minister Stewart Maxwell said: "These proposals to reform the planning system are an important step towards our goal to boost the number of new homes built in Scotland by 10,000 per year to 35,000 by the middle of the next decade."
The draft SPP3 proposes that local authorities consider improved planning policies for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), particularly where concerns exist about high concentrations.
Consultation runs until March 31 with the publication of the final revised policy expected in the summer.