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Rental bond and how does it work?

By George Hadgelias

If you’re looking to a rent a property, you’re almost certain to have to a pay a bond. It’s a big chunk of upfront cash, so what is it for?

Your rental bond, generally worked out at four times your weekly rent, can be thought of as a security deposit. It gives your landlord some financial security if you skip out without paying the rent or damage the property in any way.

If there are no problems with the tenancy, you can expect to get your bond back when you move out.

Things you need to know about your rental bond

So, what do you need to know? Lachlan Walker, director of Place Advisory and Place Projects in Brisbane, explains the ins and outs.

1. How much will I pay?

Generally, the bond is four weeks’ rent, however it does vary by state and the amount of rent you pay.

  • ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania: A flat four weeks’ rent, regardless of the rent amount;
  • New South Wales: A flat four weeks’ rent, regardless of rent amount;
  • Queensland: Four weeks’ rent, negotiable if the rent if more than $700 a week;
  • South Australia: Maximum of four weeks’ under $250 a week, six weeks if the rent is more than $250 a week;
  • Victoria: Maximum of four weeks’ rent, negotiable if the rent is more than $350 a week;
  • Western Australia: Four weeks’ rent, negotiable if the rent is more than $500 a week.

2. How is a bond lodged?

You and your landlord will sign bond lodgement papers that specify the amount being paid.

You’ll then pay your bond, and the money – along with the bond lodgement papers – will be submitted to the residential bond authority for your state or territory.

This ensures that the money is protected and available to you or your landlord when you leave.

3. How do I get my bond back?

When you are ready to leave, your property manager will look for any damage or issues caused during your tenancy and check if all rent has been paid.

If you are up-to-date with your payments, nothing has been damaged, and the property and gardens are clean and tidy, the bond will be released to you. Both you and the landlord will need to sign release papers. This can generally be done online.

However, if any issues do arise, your landlord will seek to withhold money from your bond to cover the costs. You can dispute these claims through the tenancy tribunal in your state if you feel they are unreasonable.

The top three things you can do to make sure your get your bond back, apart from being a good tenant of course, are:

  • Follow the correct legal procedures and follow-up any outstanding paperwork;
  • Complete a thorough entry report to list any existing damage to the property before you move in;
  • Insist on an exit report, where the landlord or property manager compares the state of the property against your entry report to identify if damage is your fault or pre-existing.

4. When do I get my bond back?

It generally takes four weeks to settle the bond, although this can be held up if there is a dispute, or if paperwork is incomplete or not submitted in a timely manner.

5. Anything else I should know?

If things do go wrong, and you need the help of a tenancy tribunal, it’s key that you have evidence to back up your claims, so make sure to keep copies of any paperwork and receipts if you’ve made repairs during the tenancy.

CLICK HERE for more information

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