What is a Bond?
Most residential tenancies in Tasmania are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act 1997. The Act sets out the regulations around the payment and return of bonds.
What is a Bond? A bond is the money that you pay to a landlord/agent at the beginning of the tenancy. This is financial security for the landlord in the event that you fail to meet you obligations under the tenancy agreement, such as fail to pay rent or cause damage to the property. It is not compulsory for a landlord / agent to charge a bond.
How Much Bond Can I be Charged?
The maximum amount of bond that you can be charged is the equivalent of 4 weeks rent. It is an offence for a landlord or agent to charge more than this amount, and they could be charged up to $6000 for doing so.
If you have paid more than four weeks rent as bond contact the Tenants’ Union or Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.
A tenant must lodge and pay the bond to MyBond along with the required forms. How a tenant lodges a bond depends on whether they are renting through an agent or a landlord.
- If you are leasing through an AGENT you can provide the bond to them and they must lodge it with MyBond within 3 working days.
Many agents are connected to MyBond via computer and can issue a receipt immediately.
- If you are leasing through a private LANDLORD, you do NOT pay a bond directly to them.
As a tenant you must be provided with a Bond Lodgement Form signed by the landlord. This must state the amount of the bond. This form is to accompany the lodgement of the bond and must be signed by everyone who contributed to the bond (including Colony 47, Anglicare and joint tenants, if applicable).
Payments and lodgements are to be made at any Service Tasmania shop throughout the state. Alternatively a bank cheque or money order can be posted to the Rental deposit Authority at the following address:
Rental Deposit Authority
GPO Box 1244 Hobart Tasmania 7001
Upon lodging the bond, you will receive several receipts. One of these must be returned to the landlord before gaining possession of the property (Note that it will take longer to get a bond receipt via post).
It is important that you keep the receipt as it contains a bond number that you will need when claiming the bond back. MyBond holds the money until the end of the tenancy. They do not pay interest on the bonds being held.
Claiming the Bond
At the end of a tenancy any person who has contributed to a bond and who has signed the bond forms is entitled to make a claim on the bond.
The landlord/agent must provide the tenant with a signed claim form within 3 days of the end of the lease. If all parties agree to this and sign the claim form MyBond will pay out the bond as soon as possible in the proportions agreed to on the Claim form.
A landlord/owner may lodge a Claim Form without the tenants’ signature. You have 10 days from receiving written notification from MyBond of this Claim to lodge a Dispute form.
The landlord/agent must provide evidence to support any claim against the bond such as photos, receipts, condition reports or rental ledgers. It is essential that you provide MyBond with updated contact details upon the end of your tenancy to ensure you are able to dispute the matter within the required 10 days.
A tenant may lodge a Claim Form without the signature of the landlord/agent if they have not received a signed Claim Form from the landlord/agent within three days of leaving the premises.
Bond disputes are decided by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner. To dispute a claim against the bond you must obtain a Dispute Form from mybond.tas.gov.au or Service Tasmania.
You should include any information that supports your claim such as photos, receipts, condition reports, invoices and correspondence. Once you have received a formal copy of the decision you have 7 days to appeal the matter to the Magistrates Court. A Claim on the bond can also be made by a person or organisation who contributed to the bond.
Can I dispute the Amount of Bond Returned?
If you disagree with the amount of bond returned to you, you should try and resolve the matter with the landlord / agent. If this fails you may apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner (Commissioner) to determine the dispute.
To make an application to the Commissioner, you must fill in the Bond Dispute Form, which you can get by calling the Tenants’ Union or via the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website. The application must be made within 60 days of your tenancy ending.
Once the Commissioner receives your application, s/he will require the other party (landlord or agent) to lodge with him/her the balance of the bond not paid to you. The landlord / agent may also provide the Commissioner with evidence to support their decision not to return the bond.
The Commissioner cannot make a determination until at least 7 days have elapsed since contacting the landlord / agent. If you are not happy with the determination made by the Commissioner you can appeal to the Magistrates Court within 7 days of the Commissioner’s determination.
What Can I do to Avoid a Bond Dispute?
You should keep all paperwork associated with the tenancy such as the lease agreement, rent receipts and all relevant correspondence.
Ideally you should take dated photos of the property at the beginning and end of your tenancy, as evidence of the state of the property. Also, keep all receipts associated with cleaning the property when you vacate it, such as carpet cleaning receipts.
Paying Bond in a Shared Tenancy
Where more than one tenant has their name on the lease agreement, this is known as a joint tenancy.
We recommend that the amount of money contributed towards the bond by each tenant is noted in the bond receipt, and that copies of the receipt be given to all tenants. If you are sub-leasing from a tenant (the head tenant), the head tenant may charge you a bond.