When you enter into a rental agreement, you may not give much thought to getting your rental bond back. However, you should concern yourself with understanding this process. Whether you plan to put down roots for a lifetime or just need a place for the current phase of your life, the bond will provide some extra cash for moving expenses when you move.
You should know and understand several points to help ensure you will get your bond back at the end of your rental agreement.
Definition of a Bond
A bond is money deposited by the renter to protect the property owner from damage caused by the tenant. The renter pays this money at the beginning of their lease.
(Normally, the bond amount is four times the weekly amount of rent. $300 a week rent times 4 = a $1,200 bond)
Who Holds the Bond Money?
Although the property owner collects your rental bond, they are not the party who keeps the money. All bond money collected is relinquished to the Bond Administrator. This runs through the State Government Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. The agency can only release the bond if both the owner and tenant reach an agreement regarding the condition of the rental property.
The Property Condition Report (PCR)
At the beginning of your tenancy, you should receive a PCR report. It is crucial that you carefully review it and note any discrepancies. Photos are a valuable way to document this. You have seven days from the day you begin occupancy of the property to return the signed PCR with any necessary changes noted.
The PCR is a vital tool to help you ensure that you will get your bond returned at the end of your occupancy. It is worth your time to review it. It will be the gauge that measures the condition of your rental. It also determines if your bond will be returned in full or if the owner can keep some (or all) of the money for cleaning and repairs.
How Does the Bond Refund Process Work?
- A straightforward approach is the best way to handle the situation. Inform your landlord, property manager, or property owner of your plans to vacate the premises. Provide as much lead time and maintain open communication.
- You should receive a confirmation of your plans to leave the property. Typically, you will also receive a final checklist of what needs to be taken care of when you are vacating.
- A management agent will schedule and inspect the property. They will compare the conditions they discover with the PCR, offering leeway for fair wear and tear.
- After the inspection, you and the property agent must sign an agreement that specifies the amount of your bond refund, including any money that will be taken to repair or replace items that are not up to par.
- You have the right to dispute the decision regarding your bond through the local magistrate. You must file for a decision within 14 days of the inspection.
- If you agree with the inspector’s assessment, you should receive your bond back within seven to ten days.
Tips to Help You Prepare to Vacate
- Be sure to clean as you go during the duration of your time at your rental property. While for many this goes without saying, some tenants are neglectful of regular cleaning. You can be left with an expensive mess if you do not do regular cleaning.
- Make sure your rent and any utility bills are paid in full. Otherwise, you could lose bond money to cover them.
- Report any maintenance problems immediately. You do not want to lose your bond money because you failed to call the property manager to inform them about a broken door handle or leaking faucet.
- Make every effort to return the property to the owner just as you received it.