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Rental bonds and leases

Find a rental that's right for you

Page reading time: 4 minutes

Renting your own place means choosing where you live and who you live with. Know what to do when you sign up for a place, and where to get help if you're having issues.

Before you sign the lease

A rental agreement (or lease) is a legal contract between you and the landlord. Follow our steps to find the right rental for you.

Work out what you can afford

Rent isn't the only cost you have to plan for. Make sure you can afford all the costs of moving out, including the rental bond and everyday living expenses.

Not paying your rent on time can affect your credit score and rental history. You could even be evicted. 

Inspect the property

Make sure the property:

Check the lease term

If the length of the lease doesn't suit you, try negotiating with the landlord, or look for a different place.

If you sign the lease but decide to move out before it ends, you may have to keep paying rent until the landlord finds another tenant. You could also lose some of your bond. Check your lease for details.

Understand the contract

Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the lease. Don't be afraid to ask questions — you’re not expected to know everything about rental contracts.

Paying the rental bond

A rental bond is the security deposit you pay to your new landlord before you move in. The bond amount is usually equal to four weeks of rent.

To get your bond back, you'll need to:

Get help paying the bond

State and territory governments offer interest free loans to help people on lower incomes pay their bond.

Australian Capital Territory

Rental Bond Help

New South Wales

Rentstart Bond Loan

Northern Territory

Help with set-up costs for a private rental


Guide to Bond Loans and Rental Grants

South Australia

Help paying bond and rent


Private rent assistance 


RentAssist bond loan

Western Australia

Bond Assistance Loan Scheme

Do a detailed condition report

A condition report records the condition of the inside and the outside of the property when you move in. If there's a dispute about missing items or damage, your report can be used as evidence. The landlord may do their own condition report, and this might be provided to you as well.

Your report should be as detailed as possible. Take lots of photos and record any marks, damage or issues, such as peeling paint or a faulty light.

Keep a copy of the condition report. You may need this to get your bond back.

Sorting out rental problems

Renting can come with its ups and downs. If you have a problem with your landlord or another tenant, contact your local tenants' union for advice. Government agencies may also be able to help:

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

  • Tenancy WA
    08 9221 0088
    country callers: 1800 621 888
  • Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Renting a home

Get help paying your rent

If you're falling behind with your rent, or other debts like credit card repayments, there is help available.

If you're homeless or in a housing crisis, get urgent help with money.

Parents and son smiling at each other.

Antonia and Jess get their bond back

When Antonia and Jess picked up the keys to their new place, they also got the landlord’s condition report.

Jess noticed that this condition report was missing a lot of details. It didn’t mention the carpet stain in the lounge room, the faulty powerpoint in the bathroom or the marks on the skirting boards.

Before moving in, Antonia and Jess took time to go through each room and do their own condition report. They carefully recorded all the issues, damage, and wear and tear. Jess also took plenty of photos as evidence.

At the end of their lease, they decided to move overseas. But when they tried to get their bond back, the landlord wanted to charge a $250 cleaning fee for the carpet stain.

Luckily, Antonia and Jess had their detailed condition report. They were able to prove the stain was there when they moved in, and got their full bond back.