Communities and Justice

Rent Choice Start Safely

The Rent Choice Start Safely provides short to medium-term financial support for people escaping domestic or family violence. The subsidy helps people secure private rental accommodation so they do not have to return to the violent situation.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to receive a Rent Choice Start Safely, you should be escaping domestic or family violence and:

  • be homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • be eligible for social housing
  • demonstrate that you will be able to afford the private market rental after the subsidy period ends
  • be willing to receive support services, if needed.

How will it work?

You will need to complete an online application for housing assistance or an application for housing assistance form available for download or at any DCJ Housing office. Your application will then be assessed to determine if Rent Choice Start Safely is suitable for you.

If you are approved to receive the subsidy, you will need to find an affordable rental property. Subsidised rents will be available to approved applicants from DCJ for up to 36 months.

Where do I apply?

You can apply for housing assistance at any DCJ Housing office or with a social housing provider participating in Housing Pathways.

What is the subsidy level?

The Start Safely subsidy is calculated according to your income. An applicant receiving the subsidy pays all of their Commonwealth Rent Assistance entitlement and 25% of the rest of their income as rent. DCJ pays the balance as a subsidy directly to the real estate agent or landlord.

How will I know if a property is affordable?

The Start Safely subsidy will only be approved for a private rental property that is considered affordable and within your financial means. An affordable property means you won’t be paying more than 50% of your income on top of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

How long is the subsidy paid for?

Initially, the subsidy will be paid for three months and can be paid for up to 36 months (the maximum subsidy period). Your need for the subsidy will be reviewed quarterly.

Is there an income test?

To receive the Start Safely subsidy you must be eligible for social housing. Income for Start Safely purposes will include Commonwealth Rental Assistance, even if you haven’t applied for or receive it. If your income increases during the subsidy period, the subsidy may continue to be paid. In this case, please contact your local DCJ Housing office to update your income details.

Is there an assets test?

You can receive the subsidy if you have assets but can’t access them in the short to medium term because of circumstances beyond your control. For example, you might have an interest in the family home but the Family Court has ordered that the property cannot be sold pending court proceedings.

Will I still be eligible if I get other housing assistance?

The subsidy can be provided with other DCJ private rental assistance products and services, including:

  • Rentstart Bond Loan
  • Advanced Rent
  • Tenancy Facilitation
  • Tenancy Guarantee
  • Private Rental Brokerage Service


For further questions and enquiries, contact your local DCJ Housing office or call the Housing Contact Centre.

Last updated:

05 Oct 2022