Financial help for private renters

Last updated: 22 February 2018

There is also help if you want to move into private rental, including bond loan schemes and help paying rent.


Concessions are available to low income Victorians having difficulty paying their council rates, water, gas and electricity bills. There are other concessions you might be eligible for, like cooling and utility relief.

Try the concessions search tool on the DHHS Services website to find out what you can apply for.

Housing Establishment Fund

Some community organisations provide bond loans and rent in advance through the Housing Establishment Fund (HEF).

This fund is a program that provides financial help to eligible people with a housing-related hardship.

HEF is jointly funded by the Victorian and Australian governments under the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

You can apply for HEF through a community organisation. See the list of HEF service providers on the Infoxchange website. You can also contact one of the homelessness support organisations listed on our Human Services website.

Centrelink's Crisis Payment

This payment helps people receiving benefit payments who are experiencing difficult or extreme circumstances. It is a one off payment equal to one week at your existing income-support rate. Go to Centrelink's crisis payment section for more information.

Home renovation loans

Home renovation loans can help people pay for work needed to be done to their home for health and safety reasons.

No interest and low interest loans

No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS)

The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides interest-free loans for low-income earners to buy essential household items like fridges, washing machines, televisions, beds and clothes dryers.

This scheme may also help with other essential needs like some medical and dental services, health aids and education costs.

NILS cannot be used for:

  • Emergency relief
  • Bond or rent money
  • Living expenses
  • Debt repayment.
Am I eligible?

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have a health care card or pension card or be on a low-income
  • Have lived at your current address for more than three months
  • Show you are willing and able to repay the loan.
How does it work?

NILS is a community-based program from Good Shepherd Microfinance. Accredited providers interview you and assess your application.

How much can I borrow?

Loans may be between $300 and $1,200. Repayments are set up at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months.


You can find a NILS or StepUP provider near you on the Good Shepherd Microfinance website.

Ph: 13 NILS (13 6457)
Email Good Shepherd Microfinance
Visit the Good Shepherd Microfinance website.

StepUP low interest loans

StepUP loans are an initiative of Good Shepherd Microfinance, in partnership with National Australia Bank. It gives low interest loans to people on low incomes through community service providers. It can be used for buying items like furniture, computers and second hand motor vehicles.

Am I eligible?
  • You must have a health care card or get Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • You must have lived at your current address for more than three months.
How does it work?

This is a Good Shepherd Microfinance and National Australia Bank initiative. Accredited providers interview you and assess your application.

How much can I borrow?

Loans vary from $800 to $3,000.

There are no fees or charges with this loan. Repayments are flexible and can be over 6 months to 3 years. The interest rate is fixed for the term of the loan.


You can find a NILS or StepUP provider near you on the Good Shepherd Microfinance website.

Ph: (03) 9495 9655
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm
Email Good Shepherd Microfinance

Financial advice

There is help available through government and not-for-profit services if you are having trouble paying your bills or managing money.


MoneyHelp is a not-for-profit service supported by the Victorian and Australian governments. The service offers information and support to people struggling with debt, bills and ongoing expenses.

The MoneyHelp website has information and tools to help – whether you have just lost your job, need financial advice or need help managing your debt. Tools include a budget planner, sample hardship letters and step-by-step guides.

Money Smart

The Moneysmart website has information on services available for various situations – whether you are having trouble with debt or need urgent money help. There are fact sheets, sample letters, calculators, budget planners and other tools to help you manage money.

Financial counselling

You can get free financial counselling:

  • Go to Moneysmart's financial counselling section for more information, including where to find a counsellor near you.
  • Call the financial counselling hotline on 1800 007 007 (free call), Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 4 pm.
    You will be automatically transferred to the Victorian service.
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