I left Australia after I vacated the Property - can I still get my bond back?

By Anika Legal | Sat 24th Feb. '24

It can be exciting to fly overseas, especially if you’re returning home to your friends and family. However, this can quickly turn into stress if your landlord delays or fully denies returning your bond!

We’re here to dispel the myth that once you’re leaving - or have already left - the country, that you’re not entitled to get your bond back. Leaving Australia does not prevent you from continuing to advocate for getting your bond back.

This article will address this in 2 parts:

  1. Things to do before leaving the country
  2. Things that can still be done after leaving the country


While you can continue to defend your claim to your bond after you leave Australia, there are still key steps you should take before you leave to minimise the likelihood that the bond is released to the rental provider.

Step 1 - Notify your landlord or their agent of your intention to leave the Property

Communication is key. As soon as you know when you intend to leave your Property, notify your landlord or their agent in writing.

When doing this, please make sure you follow your legal duties in terminating the rental agreement correctly. If you don’t do this, you might run the risk of being seen to “break your lease” which can create potential claims on your bond later.

For more information about this, you can have a look at the information on this website: Notice to vacate in rental properties - Consumer Affairs Victoria

If you’re not sure whether you’re giving notice of intention to vacate correctly, you should try and get some legal advice

Step 2 - Thoroughly clean the property

It’s your responsibility to leave the property in a clean and well-maintained condition. If not, your landlord may use some of your bond to pay for cleaning services. According to the law, renters must return the property in the same condition as when they moved in (except for reasonable wear and tear).

Make sure you plan enough time before you leave the country to clean your Property and a little bit of time after you vacate the Property to respond to the agent if they want you to come back and fix any issues they may have.

To read more about this, see our article titled How do I prepare for my end of lease clean to get my bond back?.

Step 3 - Complete the Exit Condition Report

It’s important that you and your landlord complete the Exit Condition Report (aka ‘Outgoing Condition Report’) before you leave to document the condition of the property at the end of your tenancy.

Ideally you should take photos of the property, and also save a copy for your records.

This report can be used as evidence to show that:

  • You’ve cleaned the property properly; and
  • The property isn’t damaged.

This will increase your likelihood of getting your bond back.


So you’ve left Australia but your bond still has not been returned to you. What next?

Don’t worry, you can continue to engage with the dispute even thought you’re overseas!

Step 1 - Communicate with the agent and the RTBA to ask the bond to be returned

Have a look at Step 3 and 4 of this blog post to find out what steps you can take - My tenancy ended - how do I get my bond back? 🌐

Step 2 - If the Rental Provider makes a claim on your bond at VCAT

Your rental provider may dispute your bond at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“VCAT”) because they think you’re failed one or more of your duties as a tenant.

If this happens - don’t panic! Even if you’ve left Australia, you can still:

  • Communicate with your previous rental provider online;
  • Participate in mediation; and
  • Virtually attend your VCAT hearing.

It’s super important to let VCAT and the rental provider know you’re overseas so that they have your correct contact details.

Do you need more help?

We hope that these tips will make your journey overseas a bit less of a bumpy ride!

As always, if you’re facing difficulties at the moment please feel free to reach out to Anika Legal for help. You can ask us for help with a Victorian bond dispute even if you're overseas by filling in our online form here.

We last updated this page in February 2024. 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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