Government bond loans are available to people on low incomes who might not be able to pay bond and do not have any other financial options. These are called Director of Housing (DoH) loans or RentAssist bond loans.
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria, which includes being a permanent Australian resident.
A DoH loan may cover the total bond value or part of the bond. If the loan only covers part of the bond, the recipient of the loan, or another renter, must pay the remaining amount.
DoH loans are different to bond replacement products, which are not legal in Victoria. Renters should be wary of products that are advertised as cheaper alternatives to rental bonds.
On this page:
How to apply
Renters can check their eligibility and apply for a DoH bond loan at Housing Victoria’s RentAssist bond loan.
If the loan is approved, the renter will be given a voucher to use to pay the bond.
DoH bond loans cannot be transferred to another person.
Using a voucher to pay bond
Renters who get a voucher should check that the details are correct and then give it to their rental provider (landlord) or property manager.
Lodging a voucher with the RTBA
The rental provider or property manager should follow these steps:
- Check the details on the voucher.
- Sign in to RTBA Online.
- Lodge the voucher with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
The RTBA will treat this voucher as a bond lodgement.
The RTBA treats DoH loans and renters’ contributions as separate bonds, even when they are for the same property. For each contribution, a separate bond lodgement or bond claim must be submitted to the RTBA.
DoH bonds at the end of an agreement (lease)
When a rental agreement (lease) ends, the RTBA will either:
- give the bond back to the DoH if the property is not damaged and the renter doesn’t owe the rental provider any money
- pay some or all of the bond to the rental provider if they make a claim because the property is damaged or the renter owes the rental provider money.
Rental provider does not claim bond
If the rental provider does not claim any part of the bond, the RTBA will give the bond back to the DoH when it receives the completed bond claim from the rental provider. The renter doesn’t need to sign anything and will not owe the DoH any money.
If the rental provider does not lodge a bond claim form with the RTBA, the DoH will not know that the rental agreement or residency has ended, and the bond amount will remain as an outstanding debt against the renter.
Rental provider claims bond
If a rental provider wants to claim on a DoH bond loan, they must apply to VCAT.
If VCAT orders the RTBA to pay the rental provider all or part of the bond, the rental provider or property manager must complete a bond claim form, attach a full copy of the VCAT order and send it to the RTBA. Rental providers registered on RTBA Online can submit the bond claim with VCAT order electronically. You can register for RTBA Online by selecting ‘register’ on the RTBA Online homepage.
The renter is encouraged to repay the DoH the amount retained by the rental provider or property manager.
Bond claim forms can be generated through RTBA Online. For information, view Bond claims and refunds.
Renting law reforms
Victoria introduced new language as part of reforms to renting laws in 2021.
- Landlords are now called rental providers
- Tenants are now called renters
- Leases are now called rental agreements.
You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.
Sections of the Act
If you want to know what the law says about Director of Housing bond loans, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:
- Section 410B - Payment of substitute bond
- Section 411B – Repayment out of Director of Housing bonds generally
- Section 413 – Payment to Director of Housing
- Section 421 – Bond paid by Director of Housing.