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 Homes Victoria loans or RentAssist bond loans.
Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria, which includes being a permanent Australian resident.
A Homes Victoria 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.
Homes Victoria 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.
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How to apply
Renters can check their eligibility and apply for a Homes Victoria 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.
Homes Victoria 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 Homes Victoria 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.
Homes Victoria bonds at the end of an agreement (lease)
When a rental agreement (lease) ends, the RTBA will either:
- give the bond back to the Homes Victoria 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 Homes Victoria when it receives the completed bond claim from the rental provider. The renter doesn’t need to sign anything and will not owe the Homes Victoria any money.
If the rental provider does not lodge a bond claim form with the RTBA, the Homes Victoria 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 Homes Victoria 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 Homes Victoria 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.
Sections of the Act
If you want to know what the law says about Homes Victoria bond loans, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:
- Section 410B - Payment of substitute bond
- Section 411B – Repayment out of Homes Victoria bonds generally
- Section 413 – Payment to Homes Victoria
- Section 421 – Bond paid by Homes Victoria.