Housing Pathways

Rentstart Bond Loan

Rentstart Bond Loan

Oct 2017

Rentstart Bond Loan

Family and Community Services (FACS) 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, FACS 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 FACS 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.

You are eligible for a Rentstart Bond Loan if:

  • you are eligible for social housing
  • you have less than $3000 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.

There are two ways to apply for a Rentstart Bond Loan.

You can apply for all types of housing assistance, including help to set up a tenancy in the private rental market, using an Application for Housing Assistance form. We will assess your application and suggest suitable product options that match your housing need.

The second way is to apply for a Rentstart Bond Loan directly. To do this you will need to complete the Rentstart online application on the Housing Pathways or Housing NSW website or complete an Application for Rentstart Bond Loan form.

You can find both forms at the Housing Pathways website or at your local FACS Housing or participating community housing provider office.

If you are applying for a Rentstart Bond Loan directly, you can complete an online or paper application form. If you complete a paper application you can deliver the form in person or fax the form to FACS Housing on 1300 722 404 or scan and email a signed copy to rentstart@facs.nsw.gov.au.

Ensure you have completed 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.

FACS Housing will send your landlord or real estate agent an electronic bond lodgement code or a completed Rental Bond Lodgement form, which they must sign and send to the Rental Bond Board. When this is done, FACS Housing’s contribution will be electronically transferred to the Rental Bond Board.

FACS Housing will be listed as having a stake in the bond. While FACS Housing has this stake, you will not be able to transfer the bond between tenancies or into another person’s name.

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. For more information about Private Rental Subsidies, visit the Housing Pathways website

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, you can make payments using BPAY, internet banking or in person at Australia Post or at a Service NSW Centre.

For more information about payment options, visit the Housing NSW website and click on the Payment Options button or download the fact sheet, Payment options for clients.

If you are unable to make a payment, you should contact FACS Housing on 1800 422 322 to discuss your options. You may be eligible for a payment variation if there is a change in your circumstances, such as:

  • rent increase
  • change in household income 
  • medical costs/expenses 
  • unexpectedly high living expenses such as high electricity bills or child care expenses.

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, FACS 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 landlord or real estate agent claim.

If there is a claim 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.

If you have already moved in to a property you are not eligible for a Rentstart Bond Loan.

This is the legal contract with FACS 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. FACS Housing can provide you with details of a legal service if needed.

It is up to you to decide if you want a Rentstart Bond Loan.

FACS 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.

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 Housing NSW.

You must also phone FACS Housing on 1800 422 322 to cancel the loan.

If the bond has already been lodged with the Rental Bond Board, you will need to repay the loan.

FACS 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, FACS Housing will only provide assistance if you are up-to-date on your current Bond Loan repayments. If approved for a second bond loan, you must continue to meet your payment obligations on your first loan.

If you are moving into a shared household, FACS 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 FACS 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, FACS Housing will pay it to this person.

If you believe we made the wrong decision, you should first discuss your concerns with a client service officer by calling 1300 422 322. You can also ask to have the decision reviewed. To do this, fill in the Review of Decisions form that is available from our website or at your local FACS Housing local office.

Are all your questions answered?

For more information call the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322, visit www.housing.nsw.gov.au, or visit your local FACS office.

Translation service

If you need help with interpreting or translation because English is not your first language, phone the All Graduates Translating and Interpreting Service on 1300 652 488. They will phone the housing organisation and interpret for you for free.

إذا كنت بحاجة للمساعدة في الترجمة الشفهية أو الترجمة لأن اللغة الإنجليزية ليست لغتك الأولى، اتصل بشركة "أول جراديويتس" All Graduates على الرقم 1300 652 488.

如果你的母語不是英語,需要口譯或筆譯幫助,請致電All Graduates,電話號碼:1300 652 488。

Nếu quý vị cần hỗ trợ biên dịch hoặc phiên dịch vì tiếng Anh không phải là ngôn ngữ chính của quý vị, vui lòng gọi All Graduates theo số 1300 652 488.