When does the tenancy end?
Whether it’s fixed-term or periodic, your tenancy ends when you move out of the property and return the keys.
Return the keys on the day that you leave, or you may still be considered to be in possession of the property and held responsible for rent.
Condition of the property
When you move out, you must leave the property in the same condition that it was in when you moved in, except for fair wear and tear. You must also leave the property in a reasonably clean condition. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to steam clean the carpets. If possible, take photographs of the property after you have cleaned it, and have a friend come through the property. If necessary they can give evidence about the state of the property when you moved out.
- tip If you do pay for steam cleaning or any other cleaning service, make sure you keep the receipt. If the landlord or agent asks for the receipt, keep the original and give them a copy.
Utilities & mail
Before you move out, you should arrange to have the gas, electricity, water and telephone disconnected on the day that you vacate.
You should give the utility suppliers 48 hours’ notice so they can arrange for a final meter reading and disconnection. If you don’t disconnect the utilities, you could end up having to pay the next tenant’s bill.
You should also have your mail redirected, which is done by filling out a form and paying a small fee at any post office.
You should also leave a forwarding address with your landlord. If you do not leave a forwarding address, you won’t know if your landlord has applied for your bond or for compensation and you might miss out on the opportunity to dispute their claim.
Getting your bond back
At the end of the tenancy, you and your landlord or agent can agree on how the bond will be paid out. You can agree that the bond be returned to you in full, or that part or all of the bond be paid to your landlord.
Bond claim form
If you reach an agreement, you and your landlord or agent must sign a Bond Claim form. Your landlord or agent should give you this form. If not, the form is available from the Tenants Union or Consumer Affairs Victoria. The signed Bond Claim form should be sent to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. The
Authority will then pay out the bond according to the form. Your bond refund will go directly into the bank account you nominate, usually the next business day after the form is received.
- tip Never sign a blank Bond Claim form. It’s like giving your landlord or agent a blank cheque! Make sure you fill out the amount each party is to receive.
If the bond was paid on your behalf by the Office of Housing, you cannot agree to pay some or all of it to your landlord.
If your landlord wants to make a claim against your bond, they must apply to the Tribunal within 10 business days of the end of your tenancy and name the Office of Housing as a party to their application.
When there is a dispute about the bond
If you and your landlord or agent cannot agree about how the bond should be paid out, either you or the landlord can apply to the Tribunal for a decision.
If your landlord wants to apply to the Tribunal to claim all or part of your bond, they must do so within 10 business days of your tenancy ending. However, keep in mind that the Tribunal can grant your landlord permission to apply, even if they are out of time.
You can apply to the Tribunal for the return of your bond at any time after the end of the tenancy. If the Tribunal makes an order that the bond be released to you, your landlord can still claim compensation, but they won’t have access to your bond as security.
Bonds & abandoned premises
If you leave the property without giving your landlord notice and without giving a forwarding address, and you owe your landlord rent, they can apply to the Principal Registrar of the Tribunal for an order that they be paid some or all of your bond.
If the Principal Registrar is convinced that you have abandoned the premises, that you cannot be found and that you owe your landlord rent, they can make an order that your landlord be paid all or part of your bond without having to go to a hearing.
If the Principal Registrar has made such an order, you must act quickly to challenge it. Contact the Tenants Union for advice.