A rental bond is a security deposit paid at the start of the tenancy.
If the property manager/owner takes a bond, they must give the tenant a receipt and lodge it with the RTA within 10 days. It is an offence not to do so.
A rental bond is lodged with the RTA Web Services, or by post, using a Bond lodgement (Form 2).
The bond is paid back to the tenant when the property is vacated, provided no money is owed for rent, damages or other costs.
How much bond can be taken?
For general tenancies the law says if the rent is $700 or less per week, the maximum bond amount is 4 weeks rent. If the weekly rent is higher than $700, the amount of bond should be negotiated between the property manager/owner and tenant. The law gives no maximum amount where the weekly rent is higher than $700.
For moveable dwelling tenancies, the maximum bond is the same as 2 weeks rent, or if the electricity is connected to the premises in the owner’s name, 3 weeks rent.
The maximum amounts stated in the Act apply to all bonds, no matter what they are called (e.g. pet bond) or how many bonds are taken.
There are different rules where accommodation is provided by an employer. Check with the RTA for more information.
Bond loans and rental grants
The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy provides rental bond loans and rental grants to eligible tenants.
A bond loan is an interest-free and fee-free loan (maximum of 4 weeks rent) for eligible people who cannot afford to pay a full rental bond. It must be repaid. Check your eligibility.
Existing bond loan balances can be checked online. You will need to provide your bond loan number and date of birth.
A bond loan plus is an interest-free and fee-free loan (maximum of 6 weeks rent) to cover the rental bond plus an amount equal to 2 weeks rent for the property you want to rent. It must be repaid. To find out more, talk to your local Housing Service Centre.
A rental grant is a one-off grant of 2 weeks rent to help meet some of the costs of moving into rental accommodation. This grant helps people experiencing a housing crisis and does not have to be repaid. It is paid directly to your property manager/owner after the tenancy starts. Check your eligibility.
How to apply
After you’ve checked that you’re eligible and been approved to rent a property, you can submit a Bond Loan and/or Rental Grant Application along with your supporting documents.
Read the Department’s guide to learn more about what happens after you have applied – including how to check the status of your online application – and/or have been approved for a bond loan or rental grant.
Other rental assistance
Check if you’re eligible for rental assistance from Centrelink.
RentConnect provides practical assistance and information on how to find, apply and sustain a home in the private rental market. The service also helps people fill out a rental application and links them to local real estate agents and community services.