Help with set up costs for a private rental

If you are on a low income and need help to rent in the private market you can apply for an interest free loan to cover the initial bond and rent payments.

Approved loans are paid directly to the landlord.


You can get up to four weeks rent as a security deposit and an option for more to cover the two weeks rent in advance.

If you will be sharing with other people, and they are not applying, then the amount you get will be calculated to cover your share of these initial expenses, based on the number of people who will be signing the rental agreement.

You must meet a range of conditions to be eligible to apply including residency, age and income limits.


You must be:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident
  • hold a Special Category Visa or Temporary Protection Visa
  • be a resident in the NT for the three months prior to putting in your application.

Age limit

You must be aged 18 years or over to apply.

Income and asset limits

If you are going to share with other people then the income and assets limits will only apply to people named on the rental assistance application form.


You must declare all sources of incomes including from overseas.

Your rent must not be more than 53% of your income.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance will be included in the income assessment if you are eligible, even if you do not receive it or have not applied for it.


Assets you will need to declare include:

  • cash and savings
  • your boat or tinnie and fishing gear
  • caravan or mobile home
  • quadbike
  • superannuation you can access.

Assets not included:

  • your personal belongings such as clothes
  • household contents such as fridge, washing machine and furniture
  • a car or motorbike you use as transport for work.
Household size Gross household income (per week)* Maximum asset value
1 $820 $5,000
2 $1,065 $5,000
3 $1,239 $5,000
4 $1,423 $5,000
5 $1,599 $5,000
6 $1,778 $5,000

* Income and asset limits were last changed on 23 September, 2019.

Outstanding housing debt

You can't apply if you have an outstanding debt with the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development.

To apply you must be able to provide:

  • proof of income
  • details of assets
  • proof you have been a Northern Territory resident for three months or more
  • photo identification.

Step 1. Fill in a bond assistance form. You can also collect one from your local public housing office.
Bond assistance form DOCX (937.8 KB)
Bond assistance form PDF (698.2 KB)

Step 2. Submit your form and documents, including your photo ID, in person at your local housing office

Find your local housing office.

You will be sent a letter telling you if your application has been approved.

If you have been approved

You will be sent an entitlement letter which is valid for four weeks.

Next steps:

  • the letter will state the maximum amount you can spend to be eligible for assistance
  • you must show this letter to your landlord so they also know the maximum you are eligible to receive
  • when you find a home to rent you must take a copy of the rental agreement to your local housing office
  • you then must make an agreement to pay back the money within four weeks
  • the loan money is then paid direct to your landlord or real estate agent.

You may use bond assistance more than once but only if the previous money has been repaid in full.

If you have not been approved

If you are not successful you can talk with the staff at your local housing office and they may be able to suggest some other options.

You must repay the loan.

Repayments will be based on your agreement with the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development.

Repayments must be at least $10 per week and the length of an agreement can't be more than 18 months.

You can choose to make larger repayments and pay off the loan quicker.

If your tenancy agreement ends, you can use your rental bond to repay any money you owe on your loan. Your landlord or real-estate agent can return this amount to the Department direct.

If you receive a Centrelink payment may also be eligible for help with rental payments.

You can read more about rental assistance on the Australian Government Department of Social Services website.

Last updated: 23 September 2019


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