Bond Loan Scheme

If you want to rent privately, most landlords will ask you to pay a bond (or refundable security deposit) before you move in. At the end of your tenancy, the landlord may be able to claim all or part of your bond as compensation for any damage to the property or for unpaid rent.

If you can't afford to pay the bond yourself, you may be able to borrow the money interest-free from your local housing office. This is called a bond loan.

These loans are for bonds only and cannot be used for rent in advance or moving costs.

The full amount of the bond loan must be paid back at the end of your tenancy. If your landlord withholds some of the bond because of unpaid rent or damages, you must still repay the full amount of the bond loan.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a bond loan if:

  • You meet the bond loan income and asset eligibility limits
  • You are a permanent resident of Australia
  • Your share of the rent is not more than 55 per cent of your gross (before tax) weekly income
  • You do not own or part own a house, flat or unit
  • You have repaid any previous bond loans, and
  • You do not owe any money relating to previous or current public tenancies.

There are exemptions to some of these rules. Please contact your local housing office for more information.

Loan amount

The amount you can borrow depends on the number of bedrooms in the property you will be renting and on the number of people who will live there. In some cases, a study or separate dining room can count as a bedroom.

We work out your share by dividing the total bond amount by the number of rent contributors living in the house. For example, if you are renting a four bedroom house which has a $1,000 bond, your share of the bond loan would be $250.

Applying for a bond loan

You can apply at your nearest housing office by filling in a Bond Loan application form and giving us the information we need to work out your loan amount if you are eligible.

You can apply by yourself, as a couple, or as part of a shared household. Only one bond form should be submitted per rental property.

If there are more than three household members applying for a bond loan then you will need to fill out an Additional bond loan applicants insert and submit this together with the Bond Loan application form.

Do not pay any bond money to the owner or agent before we tell you if your loan is approved.

Except in special cases, we cannot refund the bond amount to you if you have already paid it to the owner or agent.

You cannot apply for a bond loan until your landlord or estate agent has approved your application to rent a particular property. The property you wish to rent must be in Victoria.

Your landlord or agent must also fill in part of the Bond Loan application, to tell us about the property you will be renting. If your landlord does not use an estate agent, they must also confirm their ownership of the property or give permission for us to do this with the local council.

Income and assets

Each applicant's income and assets must be within the Department's Income and Assets Limits. We generally update these every six months.

If you or an applicant receives any income from Centrelink, you can give us permission to confirm your income, assets, and other information with Centrelink by using the Income Confirmation Service. If you use the Income Confirmation Service, you do not need to give us income and assets documents, but you must still give us documents about any property assets that you or an applicant owns.

If you or an applicant does not use the Income Confirmation Service, you must give us documents to prove each applicant's income. This could be a current (less than two weeks old) letter from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans' Affairs, a wage statement from your employer, or a 13 Week Profit and Loss Statement if you are self employed.

You must also give us documents to prove each applicant's assets, including any property assets that you or an applicant owns.

Proof of income and residency

You must give us proof of each applicant's identity. This can be one form of identification with a photograph and signature (for example, passport or driver's licence) or two other identity documents for each person (for example, Medicare card, Health care card, birth certificate).

You must also provide proof of residency status for each member of the household not born in Australia (for example, Certificate of Australian citizenship, visa, passport, or a letter from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship).

Receiving the loan

If your application is approved, a cheque made payable to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority will be given to you or sent directly to your landlord or their agent. The cheque will be accompanied by a Bond Lodgement form, which the landlord will use to lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.

Repaying the loan

At the end of your tenancy, your landlord or agent will apply to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority for the bond money to be repaid to the Department of Human Services. If your landlord withholds some of the bond because of unpaid rent or damages, you are still required to repay your share of the loan.

Any disputes between you and your landlord over unpaid rent or damages should be determined by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Each member of your household applying for the bond loan must sign an agreement to repay the loan and participate in any legal proceedings for the recovery of the bond money.

For more information on or to apply for the Department's bond loan, contact your local housing office.

Information in other languages

For information on the Bond loan scheme in other languages, please see the links below:

Arabic Bond loan scheme - Arabic
Traditional Chinese Bond loan scheme - Traditional Chinese
Polish Bond loan scheme - Polish
Russian Bond loan scheme - Russian
Somali Bond loan scheme - Somali
Spanish Bond loan scheme - Spanish
Turkish Bond loan scheme - Turkish
Vietnamese Bond loan scheme - Vietnamese
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