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Information about repaying a RentAssist bond loan

For the majority of RentAssist Bond Loan applicants, when a tenancy has ended, the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority will refund the bond loan directly to the Department of Health and Human Services.

However there can be some circumstances where the landlord/property manager or owner may want to claim money from the bond. This could be because:

  • there is outstanding rent owed
  • there is damage to the property

Where the full bond amount is not returned automatically to the Department of Health and Human Services it is encouraged that applicants agree, on request, to repay any balance retained by a landlord to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Exemptions to repayment of outstanding bond loan

Applicants are exempt from repayment of a bond loan in the following circumstances:

  • Bond loans issued prior to the 1 July 2001 – These are bond loans created prior to it being mandatory for the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority to hold all bonds.
  • Circumstances beyond the tenants control, such the following;
  • The damage is the result of an accident or actions which could not be reasonably prevented, considering the individual needs or circumstances of the tenant or the household members remaining in the property, for example, the tenant has a disability or is a survivor of family violence. 
  • Where the debt arises due to third-party or criminal actions beyond the tenant’s control. 
  • Where the debt arises from other factors beyond the tenant’s control (e.g. natural disaster). 
  • Serious medical condition – the bond debt is due to the applicant being forced to leave a tenancy due to a serious medical condition. The applicant must provide a letter from their treating health practitioner confirming their medical condition and that they were forced to leave the tenancy. 
  • A new social housing tenancy is being commenced – the bond is retained by the private landlord as the tenant could not provide sufficient notice of their intention to vacate due to their requirement to commence a social housing tenancy.
  • Bankrupt clients – if one applicant on a previous bond application is declared bankrupt, the outstanding debt is generally written off for all joint applicants in recognition of the difficulties to practically pursue a shared debt for bond loans. The Bankruptcy operational guideline outlines the documentation required for evidence of bankruptcy.

In the case of family violence, staff will accept verbal advice from a family violence worker to confirm the circumstances. A file note is made regarding the information provided.  If written evidence is provided, staff make a file note regarding the evidence, but the documentation is not required to be retained by the department. Where documentation this should be stored in the Department’s secure document management system.

Entering an agreement 

If you enter into an agreement to repay any outstanding balance you are still able to apply for a new RentAssist Bond loan application.

Contact your local office to request a bond repayment form.

To see information about any of your RentAssist bond loan applications, link HousingVic Online Services.

Disputes over unpaid rent or damage

Any disputes between you and your landlord over unpaid rent or damages may be settled by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

VCAT is an independent tribunal (like a court). It decides disputes between landlords and tenants. Find more information on residential tenancies disputes, see Renting a home on the VCAT's website.