26 September 2023

Renters advised of rental bond rules

Start the conversation

Consumer Protection says people renting a home often pay a security bond at the start of their lease to guard against damage or unpaid bills.

“Typically worth four weeks’ rent, the bond is a large chunk of money that many tenants may be relying on receiving back at the end of a tenancy to help with the costs of moving and finding a new place to live,” Consumer Protection said.

“However, new figures released by the Bond Administration Branch at Consumer Protection reveal only 34.6 per cent of tenants received all of their bond money back in 2021,” it said.

It said around 12.7 per cent of tenants lost all their bond last year, while 52.5 per cent lost part of it.

“Aside from complaints about bond money taking too long to be released, some of the other major reasons people complain to us include disagreements about the property condition report (PCR), as well as the property not being properly cleaned when the tenant vacates,” Consumer Protection said.

“When it comes to cleaning and fixing damage, landlords are only able to charge a tenant for the actual costs incurred, not a pre-estimated cost.”

It said that if tenants and landlords could not agree, the PCR was relied upon to determine what damage, if any, occurred during the tenancy.

“For this reason it is in a tenant’s best interests to ensure the PCR is accurate at the start of the tenancy and for both parties to make sure the report is completed and signed,” it said.

“We also recommend tenants take photos of the property when they move in and include those photos with the PCR when it is returned to the landlord or agent.”

The Agency said tenants and landlords should complete a PCR within 14 days of the end of a tenancy.

“Given all bond money is required to be lodged with the Bond Administrator, tenants should know that landlords have no right to keep any amount paid as a security bond, unless agreed by the tenant or stipulated in a court order,” Consumer Protection said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.