Rentstart Bond Loan
Last published 04 Nov 2021
DCJ Housing operates Rentstart to provide financial assistance for eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market.
Under Rentstart, DCJ Housing may be able to assist you with a loan of up to 100% of your rental bond to establish a tenancy in the private market.
The loan is interest free and repayable to DCJ Housing. Any payments you make can be returned to you at the end of the tenancy if there is no claim made by the landlord or real estate agent.
Am I eligible for a Bond Loan?
You are eligible for a Rentstart Bond Loan if:
- you are eligible for social housing
- you have less than $5000 in cash assets
- you are able to sustain a tenancy in the private rental market
- rent for the property you wish to rent is not more than 50 per cent of your household’s total gross weekly income. For example, if your household’s total gross weekly income is $500, to be eligible for a Rentstart Bond Loan, the weekly rent must be $250 or less.
How do I apply for a Rentstart Bond Loan?
There are two ways to apply for a Rentstart Bond Loan.
If you have been approved for a property in the private rental market and you meet the criteria for social housing, you can apply for a Rentstart Bond Loan in two ways. Either apply online, 24/7 using the Rentstart Bond Loan online form or download the Application for Rentstart from the DCJ website. If you complete a paper application you can deliver the form in person or fax the form or email a scanned and signed form to DCJ Housing.
Fax: 1300 722 404
Make sure you complete all relevant sections of the application and provide us with the necessary documents, otherwise we will not be able to process your application.
You will need to understand the terms and conditions of the Bond Loan, which are available as Part E of the application form.
How is the bond paid?
DCJ Housing will send your landlord or real estate agent a completed Rental Bond Lodgement form, which they must sign and send to the Rental Bond Board. When this is done, DCJ Housing's contribution will be electronically transferred to the Rental Bond Board.
DCJ Housing will be listed as having a stake in the bond. While DCJ Housing has this stake, you will not be able to transfer the bond between tenancies or into another person’s name.
How much are my loan payments likely to be?
Your payments will be fortnightly and based on a 12 or 18 month payment plan. In exceptional circumstances a 36 month payment plan may be offered. Your payment plan will be based on how much of your income will be spent on rent.
For example if your income is $650 per week and the rent on your property is $300 per week, a Rentstart Bond Loan of $900 would require payments of $25 per fortnight (or $13 per week) for 18 months.
If you receive a Private Rental Subsidy, your Bond Loan payments will be calculated based on how much of your income will be spent on rent after the subsidy is applied.
How do I make my payments?
If you receive an income from Centrelink, we will ask you to make payments using the Bond Loan Deduction Scheme. This scheme allows you to have your payments automatically deducted from your pension or allowance.
If Centrelink is not your main source of income, payment options include BPAY or online via the DCJ Housing website.
What if I can’t make my payments?
If you are unable to make a payment, you should contact the Housing Contact Centre to discuss your options.
Housing Contact Centre: 1800 422 322
You may be eligible for a payment variation if there is a change in your circumstances, such as:
- a rent increase
- a change in household income
- medical costs/expenses
- unexpectedly high living expenses such as high electricity bills or child care expenses.
Can I get my money back when my tenancy ends?
If you repay the loan in full before the end of your tenancy, you can apply to NSW Fair Trading to claim your bond back from the Rental Bond Board at the end of your tenancy.
If your tenancy ends before the loan is repaid in full, DCJ Housing will recover the bond from the Rental Bond Board and will return to you any amount you have paid off your loan less any claim by the landlord or real estate agent.
If a claim is made against the bond that you do not agree with, you can challenge this claim regardless of whether the loan has been repaid in full. For more information about how to do this, contact NSW Fair Trading.
What if I have already moved in?
If you have already moved in to a property you are not eligible for a Rentstart Bond Loan.
What are the Bond Loan terms and conditions?
This is the legal contract with DCJ Housing that you agree to when you receive a Bond Loan. It is important you understand your rights, responsibilities and obligations under the Rentstart Bond Loan Agreement. If you need further assistance to understand the terms and conditions, you should seek independent advice. DCJ Housing can provide you with details of a legal service if needed.
What if I don’t agree to a Bond Loan?
It is up to you to decide if you want a Rentstart Bond Loan.
DCJ Housing is not able to help you pay the bond for your tenancy if you do not want to agree to the terms and conditions of a Rentstart Bond Loan.
What if I change my mind after I have been approved for the loan?
If you change your mind after accepting a Rentstart Bond Loan, you must first contact your landlord or real estate agent to organise an alternative payment method for the bond. Your landlord or real estate agent will need to return the Bond Lodgement form to DCJ Housing.
You must also phone DCJ Housing to cancel the bond loan.
If the bond has already been lodged with the Rental Bond Board, you will need to repay the loan.
Can I apply for a Bond Loan if I have an outstanding Rentstart Bond Loan debt?
DCJ Housing will allow you to have up to two Bond Loan debts at any time. If you need a second Bond Loan within a 12 month period, DCJ Housing will only provide assistance if you are up-to-date with your current Bond Loan payments. If approved for a second bond loan, you must continue to meet your payment obligations on your first bond loan.
What if I’m moving into a shared tenancy?
If you are moving into a shared household, DCJ Housing may be able to help you with your share of a rental bond.
When more than one household member is approved for this assistance, one person must agree to have the Bond Loan Agreement in their name. This person is legally responsible to DCJ Housing for making payments on the bond loan and is responsible for any arrears payments. If there is a refund at the end of the tenancy, DCJ Housing will pay it to this person.
What if I disagree with a decision made by DCJ Housing?
If you believe we made the wrong decision, you should first discuss your concerns with a client service officer. You can also ask to have the decision reviewed. To do this, fill in the Review of decisions form available online or at your local DCJ Housing local office.
Housing Contact Centre: 1800 422 322