Help with set up costs for a private rental

If you're on a low income and need help paying for a private rental bond, you can apply for bond assistance.

Bond assistance is an interest free loan to help pay the initial bond for a private rental property.


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

If you're sharing with other people, you can only apply for the amount of bond you will be required to pay.

You must meet the following conditions to be eligible to apply for bond assistance.

Exemptions may be made in priority circumstances. This can include people escaping family violence or sponsored refugees.


You must be:

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

Age limit

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Income and asset limits

The income and assets limits apply to all people who are applying for bond assistance.


You must declare all sources of income including income you may get from overseas.

The rent you will pay must not be more than 53% of your income.

If you're eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance, this amount will be included in the income assessment, even if you haven't applied for or received it.


Assets you will need to declare include:

  • any money you have in the bank
  • boats, caravans, quadbikes and other recreational vehicles
  • superannuation and rollover funds you have access to
  • compensation payments
  • any non-residential property or land that you can't live on.

Get a full list of what assets are assessed.

Assets not included are:

  • your personal belongings such as clothes
  • household contents such as a 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 $830 $5,000
2 $1,079 $5,000
3 $1,255 $5,000
4 $1,441 $5,000
5 $1,619 $5,000
6 $1,801 $5,000

* Income and asset limits were last changed on 19 October 2020.

Outstanding housing debt

You can't apply if you have an outstanding debt with Territory Families, Housing and Communities.

To apply, you must be able to provide:

  • proof of income
  • details of all 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 (937.2 KB)

Bond assistance form PDF (700.7 KB).

Step 2. Submit your form and supporting documents including your photo ID, in person at 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 are eligible for
  • 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
  • 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 Territory Families, Housing and Communities.

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, the bond amount payable to you can be used to repay any bond assistance you owe.

Your landlord or real-estate agent can return this amount directly to the department.

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

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

Last updated: 19 October 2020

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