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On 1 November 2018, the NSW Government introduced DCJ Housing (which includes public housing and Aboriginal Housing Office) bonds to recover some of the repair costs when a property is significantly damaged. Rental bonds do not apply to most of our tenants who value and take care of their property, only to people who cause significant property damage.

What is a DCJ Housing rental bond?

A DCJ rental bond is an amount of money paid by you (the tenant) or another person at the start or during your tenancy as a security deposit against any failure to comply with the terms of your residential tenancy agreement. In NSW, all bonds must be lodged with the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

DCJ rental bonds have been introduced to help reduce damage to properties by tenants. Bonds also help us recover some of the repair costs when a property is damaged, to help keep the public housing system financially sustainable.

Rental bonds also discourage people from damaging their property again.

Will I need to pay a DCJ Housing rental bond?

People who cause damage to their DCJ Housing property may need to pay a bond. The bond applies to damage valued at $500 or more, that is discovered and charged at a single point in time. Damage that has previously been reported is not included in the assessment of the $500.

However, we consider what happened in the lead-up to the situation to make sure everyone is treated fairly and bonds are not charged to people with genuine reasons for the damage which we should consider, for example people escaping domestic violence where the damage was caused by the perpetrator. For more information about tenant damage refer to the DCJ Tenant Repair Costs Policy.

Rental bonds also apply to people returning to DCJ Housing who have caused damage to a previous DCJ property. The bond applies to damage valued at $500 or more, that was discovered and charged at a single point in time. The damage must have occurred in the six years before they sign a new lease.

I haven’t heard about it before – is this a new thing?

Yes. DCJ Housing rental bonds are part of creating a better social housing experience under our 10-year strategy – Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW.

When did the changes start?

From Thursday 1 November 2018, some tenants may need to pay DCJ Housing rental bonds when a property is significantly damaged.

Will I be charged a bond if I report maintenance or repairs?

No. It’s important to keep reporting your repairs and maintenance issues to us, so we can keep your home in good condition. Rental bonds do not apply to tenants who are doing the right thing by looking after their home. Rental bonds are only for cases of negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that damage a DCJ Housing property to the amount of $500 or more.

How can I avoid rental bonds?

You can avoid having to pay a DCJ Housing rental bond by looking after your home throughout your tenancy. Fair wear and tear will not result in a damage charge. Examples of fair wear and tear include:

  • worn carpet or floorboards
  • faded, chipped or cracked paint
  • worn kitchen top
  • loose hinges or handles on doors, windows or worn sliding tracks

You must also report damage as soon as it occurs. If you do so and the damage is less than $500, you will not be charged a bond. You will have to pay the cost of the damage.

Is anyone exempt from rental bonds?

Yes. Some groups do not need to pay a rental bond. The full list of people who are exempt is contained in the Ministerial Guidelines on Rental Bonds available on the DCJ website. This includes:

  • Tenants where damage was the result of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence will not be charged for damage caused by perpetrators of violence
  • Clients approved for Emergency Temporary Accommodation
  • Tenants over 80 years of age
  • Tenants who receive a Veteran’s Affairs benefit
  • Tenants relocated by DCJ on portfolio or tenancy management grounds with a tenant damage debt that is more than six years old, or the tenant damage debt was incurred before the policy commenced
  • Tenants who are relocated to downsize to a smaller either at the initiative of DCJ or the tenant
  • Tenants included in Social Housing Management Transfer program locations
  • Other tenants whom DCJ assesses should be exempt from paying a bond because of extenuating circumstances
  • Tenants who are exempt under the DCJ Tenant Repair Cost Policy.

Where can I find more information?

To find out more, contact your local DCJ Housing office, either in person or by telephone. You can find your nearest office on the DCJ website.

You can reach the Housing Contact Centre 24/7 on 1800 422 322.

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Last updated: 09 Apr 2024