The Private Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to eligible customers who either:

  • have difficulty meeting the upfront costs associated with renting privately
  • need help to maintain their accommodation.

This policy sets out:

  • who’s eligible for the program
  • what Housing SA considers to be special circumstances
  • the types of accommodation exempt from the program
  • the types of assistance Housing SA may provide
  • the amount of assistance Housing SA may provide.


Customers are eligible if they meet all the below conditions:

  • they have an independent income
  • they meet the income and asset limits for the program
  • they provide proof of income, identity and rent
  • the total rent for the property’s no more than $600 per week
  • the share of rent’s no more than 50% of their total assessable income before tax
  • the property’s in South Australia
  • they don’t have a debt to Housing SA, or the debt’s less than $1,000
  • an arrangement to repay a debt owed to Housing SA’s in place
  • they aren’t bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA
  • they don’t have an interest in a residential property
  • they aren’t an overseas student
  • providing the assistance won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order.

Debt or bankruptcy

Customers with a debt of more than $1,000 to Housing SA aren’t eligible for assistance even if they have an arrangement to repay it.

Customers with a debt of $1,000 or less to housing SA may be eligible for assistance provided they either:

  • repay the debt in full before assistance is provided
  • have an arrangement to repay the debt when they’re assessed for assistance and the arrangement’s still in place when the assistance is provided.

Customers who are bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA aren’t eligible until the bankruptcy’s discharged.

Special circumstances

Housing SA may provide assistance to customers who aren’t eligible but have special circumstances if they meet all of the below conditions:

  • the property’s in South Australia
  • the customer isn’t an overseas student
  • providing the assistance won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order

Customers have special circumstances in any of the below situations:

  • they’re moving because of domestic abuse or their safety’s at risk
  • they’re homeless because they don’t have access to safe, secure accommodation, for example they’re staying in a shelter
  • they’re experiencing a housing crisis, for example they have an interest in residential property but must leave due to a relationship breakdown
  • they have a serious health or disability issue that hinders access to private rental accommodation, for example they need a property with modifications for a wheelchair
  • they’re experiencing  temporary financial hardship.

The customer needs to contact Housing SA for a housing advice appointment.

Housing SA may ask for verification of special circumstances.

Temporary financial hardship

Temporary financial hardship is when you experience an extraordinary circumstance that significantly affects your ability to pay essential living costs such as food, accommodation, medical treatment or education costs.

Extraordinary circumstances can include:

  • a loss of or significantly reduced primary income
  • serious injury or family tragedy
  • domestic abuse
  • gambling, drug or alcohol addiction
  • major property loss due to a disaster like fire or flood
  • significant household changes, such as separating from a partner or family visiting for a cultural obligation.

Exempt accommodation

Assistance isn’t provided for any of the following types of accommodation:

  • boarding in the family home
  • a hotel or motel, except in line with the Emergency accommodation policy
  • educational institution or college accommodation, for example on-campus housing
  • hospital or club premises
  • health-related facilities, for example nursing home, home for aged or people who have disabilities, mental health hostel, rest home
  • retirement properties where an ingoing contribution is paid before the resident can move in
  • public or Aboriginal housing
  • caravan hire or site fees not at a caravan park or campground, for example at someone’s home
  • public housing properties transferred to and managed by a community housing provider
  • properties listed as uninhabitable on the Substandard property register.

Private rental assistance won't be provided for accommodation not covered under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 or the Residential Parks Act 2007, except if Housing SA assesses and determines the customer's need for this type of accommodation.

Types of assistance

Bond guarantees

A bond guarantee’s an undertaking to a property owner, agent or proprietor that Housing SA will pay for verified, legitimate claims at the end of the tenancy, for example for unpaid rent, other tenant charges.

Bond guarantees are lodged with Consumer and Business Services in line with either the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 or the Residential Parks Act 2007.

Bond guarantees aren't provided to customers who have already moved into the property except if either:

  • it’ll replace an existing bond the customer paid for which will be used to pay rent arrears when it’s released
  • a landlord’s eligible for a bond increase or top up under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995
  • a bond’s needed for a new lease agreement, for example a sharer takes on more of the lease when someone moves out, the landlord didn't need a bond for the original lease agreement.

Rent in advance

Rent in advance is a grant.

Assistance is based on:

  • the amount of rent payable at the time of the customer’s assessment
  • the type of accommodation the customer is moving into.

Housing SA doesn’t provide rent in advance either:

  • for debentured community housing properties
  • if the customer’s already moved into the property.

Rent in arrears

Rent in arrears is a grant.

Customers who fall behind in their rent and are at risk of being evicted from their private rental tenancy may be eligible for assistance to pay their rent arrears, if they meet all the below conditions:

  • they're eligible or have special circumstances, in line with this policy
  • they rent privately, and not in community housing
  • they’ve exhausted all reasonable avenues to meet the full cost of their arrears
  • their tenancy's at risk if payment isn’t made, for example a notice of termination is imminent or has been served
  • the accommodation’s affordable and sustainable in the medium-to-long term.

Amount of assistance


Customers moving into rooming or boarding houses may receive a bond guarantee of up to 2 weeks’ rent.

Customers moving into caravan parks may receive a bond of up to 4 weeks’ rent.

Customers moving into other types of accommodation may receive a bond of up to 4 weeks’ rent, or 6 weeks’ rent if the rent’s more than $800 per week.

Rent assistance

A customer can receive a maximum of 4 weeks’ rent assistance in a 2 year period. This includes any combination of rent in advance and arrears.

Customers can receive up to 1 week's rent in advance provided they’re eligible and they haven’t exceeded the maximum amount of rent assistance.

Customers may be approved for up to 2 weeks’ rent in advance if they have special circumstances and can demonstrate temporary financial hardship.

Customers on low incomes receive 2 weeks' rent in advance in line with the Income limits for help paying bond or rent.

Customers can receive rent in arrears provided they're eligible, they haven't exceeded the maximum amount of rent assistance and they're at risk of losing their tenancy.

At the end of a tenancy

Housing SA asks Consumer and Business Services to release a bond guarantee in full to Housing SA if the customer or landlord can’t be contacted within 4 months of the date the lease agreement ended.

If a property owner, agent or landlord makes a claim against a bond guarantee, Housing SA may:

  • investigate the claim
  • check the claim’s legitimate
  • dispute all or part of the claim.

If all or part of a Housing SA bond’s claimed, it becomes a debt the customer owes to Housing SA in line with the Account management policy.

Bond claims made as a result of domestic abuse perpetrated by someone other than the customer are managed in line with the Domestic abuse policy.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy’s based on and complies with:

Supporting procedures/ guideline

  • Private rental assistance program procedures v 32

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

30 June 2023

Version number


The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There’s no guarantee any printed copies are current.