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If you have ever rented a property before, you’ve probably had to pay a sum of money upfront before moving in. This is called a bond.
This article will cover:
So, what actually is a bond? A bond is like a security deposit that is paid to the Residential Bond Authority (RBTA), and can only be used to cover liabilities such as unpaid rent, damage to the property and other matters. It is typically around four weeks’ worth of rent and it is paid upfront, before moving in. Where there is more than one tenant, it is typically divided evenly between tenants of a property.
A bond essentially acts as a guarantee to your landlord that you will follow the rules set out in your rental agreement. This ensures that if you or your guests cause any damage to the property, or you miss paying certain bills or rent, then your rental provider can recover these costs and is not left out of pocket.
Your bond will typically be paid after you have signed your rental agreement, and before you move in. Before paying your bond your rental provider must give you a copy of the condition report of the property for you to check before or immediately after moving in. You need to return the report to your agent or landlord within 5 business days of moving in.
Once you have paid your bond, by law, your rental provider must lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancy Board Authority (RTBA). They'll hold onto the bond money for the duration of your tenancy.
The RTBA will send you a receipt with your 'bond number' once they've received it. You can use this bond number to search for your bond on RTBA’s website.
Your rental provider has a legal duty to submit your bond to the RTBA within 10 business days of receiving the bond. If you do not receive a bond receipt from the RTBA within 15 business days of lodging your bond to your rental provider, you should notify the RTBA.
Typically, at the end of your tenancy, if there have been no issues or disputes and you leave the property in the same condition you found it in, your bond money will be returned to when you move out.
Your rental provider can only claim your bond for certain reasons. To minimise the likelihood of them trying to claim your bond, you should:
Your rental provider cannot claim to pay for repairs that are ‘fair wear and tear’ of the property that have occurred over time while living there. Examples of this would be faded curtains or worn carpets.
With that said, if your rental provider does keep your bond money, it is their duty to show that they’ve taken necessary care to keep the costs to a reasonable amount.
Additionally, after your tenancy has finished, you have the right to attend a final inspection with your rental provider while they complete an exit condition report. This can be useful for peace of mind, ensuring that you both are on the same page when it comes time for your bond money to be returned or claimed.
Whether you or your landlord are trying to negotiate the amount that is paid back at the end of your tenancy, we can guide you through the steps involved. Contact us today to get started.
We last updated this page in March 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.