At the start of a tenancy, a tenant is required to deposit a bond, which is equivalent to 4-6 weeks of rent. The deposit is held by The Residential Tenancies Authority for the entire period of the tenancy and refunds the amount to the tenant, property owner or share between them if the stipulated conditions have been fulfilled. To be refunded the deposit, a duly filled and signed bond refund form should be submitted.
When Should The Bond be Taken?
A landlord or agent takes a bond from a tenant after the tenant has been provided with a copy of the tenancy agreement. This document contains terms of the tenancy, by laws and other rules as required by law. After taking the bond, the landlord or agent should do the following:
- Provide the tenant paying the bond with a receipt.
- Ensure that the Bond Lodgement form is dully filled.
- Send the bond money to the RTA in no more than ten days after collecting it.
- The tenant will agree with the landlord or agent about making part payments. However, the first installment should be lodged with RTA within 10 days of receipt.
- Apply for a bond loan that is equivalent to the amount of the bond.
- Refunds can only be released to the named persons if the form is duly signed.
- No other information is required when the landlord ID number is provided in the landlord-details column.
- After completing the form and sending it for processing, it takes about three working days to get the refund processed.
- The amount of the bond is refunded if the signatures appended on the form are the same as those in the lodgement form.
- The refunds are credited to the bank accounts that have been listed on the refund form.
- The bond amount may be transferred to a new tenancy. This can take up to 10 days to be processed.
How Much Bond Can Be Taken?
The amount of bond that is taken for general tenancies whose rent is a maximum of $700 is four weeks of rent. However, when the monthly rental amount is more than this, the tenant and the landlord/agent should negotiate and agree on the most appropriate amount. The law does not stipulate a maximum amount of bond in scenarios where the weekly rent is more than $700.
Bond for Movable Properties
If the rental property is movable, the maximum amount of bond should not be more than two weeks of rent. However, if the premises are connected to electricity in the name of the property owner, bond that’s equivalent to three weeks of rent should be paid.
What Happens If The Tenant Can’t Afford The Rental Bond?
There are scenarios where the tenant cannot afford the amount of the bond upfront. If this is the case:
Refund of The Bond Amount
The amount of the bond can be refunded when the tenant moved out of the premises. Both the landlord and the tenant should inspect the property and agree on how much of the bond should be refunded. They should inspect the property together and ensure that there are no breakages and damages. The tenant is not held responsible for normal wear, but may be held responsible for careless damage or intentional damage to the property. The landlord has the right to claim all or part of the bond if the tenant leaves something undone with regard to the tenancy. This includes rent arrears, missing items, damage to fixtures, unfinished gardening and unfinished cleaning among others. However, if after inspection everything is found to be in order, the tenant will fill all the spaces in the bond refund form and send it for processing by the Tenancy Services.
Damage to the Property or Unpaid Rent
If there is damage, unpaid rent or something else, the landlord and the rent will agree on how to split the bond. This way, part of the bond is handed over to the landlord to cover the costs of the damage to the properties. The rest of the amount is refunded to the tenant. The refund form should reflect this important information.
Bond Refund Form
Any refund that is made to any of the parties is done based on the information that is presented on this form. Either the landlord or the tenant can send the form to The Residential Tenancies Authority. However, it is essential to know that:
Where the Form is Not Signed
There are instances where the form is send to the tenancy services without the signature of either the landlord or the tenant. If this happens, the Tenancy Services will get in touch with the party whose signature is missing to confirm if they fully agree with the refund. RTA will send notifications to the last known address, which may be the premises that have just been vacated.
It is highly advisable that the landlord and tenant update their address anytime they change it. In this scenario, the bond is paid when the tenant or the landlord replies and agrees. The bond may also be paid if a reply is not received within two weeks. When the party replies and disagrees, the bond will not be paid.
The Tenancy Services will notify both the parties in case one of them disputes the payment of the bond. The payment can only be approved after all the parties signs a new bond-refund form or after the Tenancy Services receives an order from the Tenancy Tribunal, providing guidelines on how the bond is to be refunded to the tenant and the landlord. An agreement should be reached within 2 months after the tenancy ends. After this duration, both the tenant and the landlord must apply to the Tenancy Tribunal if they need to claim the bond, either in part or in whole. This is normally the best way out if the landlord and the tenant cannot agree. Alternatively, the landlord can get the tenant to sign the form afresh and submit for processing of the bond.
When the Bond is Not Claimed
A bond that is not claimed for a period of 6 years after the tenancy lapses becomes the Crown’s property.
Reading through your lease agreement will help you understand that a proper bond cleaning is a must whenever you are vacating a property in Brisbane, Queensland or else your property manager can easily deduct almost $500-$1200 depending on the condition and size of the property. You have to ensure that there are no breakages and the property is in good shape. Failure to do this, you may forfeit part or whole of your bond.