5 Tips To Minimise Risk Of A Bonds Claim During Your Tenancy

By Anika Legal | Wed 13th July '22

Are you worried about losing your bond? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is an issue many tenants face when moving out of their property. We know that this can be a very stressful time, so we've compiled five helpful tips that will ensure you’re as protected as possible during your tenancy.

What is a bond and what can my landlord claim by bond for?

First things first – what is a bond? A bond is the lump sum of money you pay at the start of your tenancy (not your weekly rent). It essentially acts as a form of security for your landlord in case there is a dispute at the end of your tenancy. Your landlord may claim this bond after your lease ends for a number of reasons, including:

  • Damage to the property
  • Unpaid rent or other charged
  • You did not leave the property in a reasonably clean condition
  • You made changes to the property without your landlord’s permission
Tip #1 - Keep a written record after inspections

Inspections generally occur after the first three months of moving in and then every six months after that (at the most). After each of these inspections, it can be very helpful in the future if you have a written record of these inspections – you can do this by emailing your landlord or their agent after the inspection.

In the email, you should make it clear that the inspection occurred and ask whether there were any issues that were found during the inspection.

For example, you could write something like:

Dear (agent/landlord name), thank you for our inspection on the (insert date). Please let me know if there were any issues that you found.

This not only shows that the inspection occurred, but that there were no issues – if the agent does identify issues in the inspection then this gives you time to fix any potential damage you may have caused before the end of your tenancy.

Tip #2 - Make sure the condition report is filled out properly

At the start of your tenancy, you will receive a condition report from your landlord or agent. The condition report shows the condition of the property at the time you move in. It is important that you fill this report in properly so that it reflects the current condition on the property.

When completing the report, ensure that:

  • The photos in the condition report accurately show the current condition of the property
  • If the condition report does not show all damage, you let your landlord or agent know as soon as possible so that this can be added into the condition report

Making sure the information on the condition report is correct protects you at the end of the tenancy as, when it’s time to leave, you can’t be blamed for damage that was made before you moved in.

Tip #3 - Keep the property reasonably clean

When you vacate your property, it’s required that you leave it in a ‘reasonably clean’ condition. If the property is not considered to be reasonably clean, then your landlord may be entitled to all of (or part of) your bond in order to clean it

You might be wondering what is considered ‘reasonably clean’? Good question. Unfortunately, there is no exact definition, however, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has heard matters regarding this phrase many times. VCAT are often inclined to consider something not reasonably clean if it involves the following:

  • Dusty walls
  • Dirty kitchen appliances
  • Overgrown grass
  • Leaving personal belongings behind

However, it’s important to know that your landlord isn’t entitled to any of your bond for damage which is considered ‘fair wear and tear’. This can include derogation of carpets because they have been walked on or ageing of kitchen appliances. Fair wear and tear relates to ‘reasonable’ use of the property and its appliances rather than damage caused from misuse.

Tip #4 - Let your landlord know if there are any issues

If something in your property breaks, you should let your landlord know about the issue as soon as possible.

Usually these issues will involve repairs. There are two types of repairs that your landlord is required to fix – urgent and non-urgent. If you are unsure whether the damage is your obligation or whether it is your landlords, visit our helpful blog article on urgent and non-urgent repairs.

It’s important that you let your landlord know about the issue as soon as possible so that they have time to fix the damage, but this also means that if any further damage occurs from the issue, the landlord cannot place any blame on you as you’ve given them adequate time to organise the repair.

Tip #5 - Keep paying your rent

Even if your landlord refuses to complete a repair, or you have any form of disagreement with them, it is important to keep paying your rent.

If you do not pay your rent for a certain period, your landlord may be able to claim this as a reason to not only evict you, but also to keep your bond or a part of your bond at the end of your lease.

If your landlord is refusing to perform repairs you can contact us. Whether it’s sending a letter to your landlord, talking to them on your behalf, or helping to prepare for VCAT, we’ll do everything we can to get your home repaired!

We last updated this page in July 2022. Please remember that this is only legal information. If you're thinking about taking action, you should chat to a lawyer for advice about your situation first.

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