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Getting your bond money back

Author: When you enter in a tenancy, the owner will require you to pay a security bond before moving in.

The security bond is usually the equivalent of four weeks rent and must be paid to the property manager or landlord who lodges it with the Bond Administrator, a specific government-managed trust account. There are severe penalties for landlords or agencies who fail to comply with this.

What is the process for getting your bond money back?
When your tenancy comes to an end or is terminated, the owner or property manager will inspect the property to ensure it has been left in the same state and condition it was at the commencement of the lease.

Naturally, they must take reasonable wear and tear into consideration.

Sometimes there might be a disagreement between the departing tenant and the owner in terms of what exactly constitutes ‘fair wear and tear’, which can lead to disagreements as to how the bond money is disbursed.

If, after a final bond inspection it is revealed, for example, that the tenant has damaged a bench top or failed to properly clean the carpets, then the tenant may be given the opportunity to address this but the owner is under no obligation to grant further access to the property.

Alternatively, the tenant may acknowledge those issues and simply leave them to the owner to address and is happy to have the costs of making those things made good deducted from their bond.

What happens if you disagree with the bond deductions?
Occasionally an agreement cannot be reached over the manner in which the bond is disbursed and this results in a dispute.

In these situations the Property Condition Report (PCR), which had its contents agreed to by both the owner and the tenant at the start of the lease, is relied upon to determine whether any damage was caused during the tenancy.

If a resolution cannot be reached, the Magistrate’s Court will decide on the allocation of bond monies.

To avoid this situation and to ensure a full bond refund, ensure the PCR is accurate at the start of your lease and that you return the property to the owner in the best possible condition.

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