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Protecting Your Bond: How to Get Your Rental Bond Back

, by Cindy Knight

Protecting Your Bond: How to Get Your Rental Bond Back

You are excited about your new move, have packed up your home and are all ready to leave. The final cleaning has been completed and the home restored to its original condition with fair wear and tear. The only thing left is to get your bond back. So how to get your rental bond back?

Having placed a typically 4-week rent as a bond, getting that money back will certainly help with the cash flow for the move. So let us define some basic concepts of a bond:

What is a bond and how does it work? 

A bond consists of a determined sum of money paid by Tenants to protect the owner in the event of damage or unpaid rent. This is held over the duration of the tenancy or lease. It is not kept by the Owner but deposited with the Bond Administrator through the State Government Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Where is the bond specified? 

The Residential Tenancies Act specifies the amount of bond required for the Tenancy.

How much bond is required for the duration of the Tenancy?

The Bond is currently required at a rate of four times the weekly rent, for example, an apartment renting at $250 a week would require a bond of $250 x 4 weeks = $1,000.

Where is the bond lodged at?

It is required that the bond be lodged with the Bond Administrator through the State Government Department of Mines, Industry Regulation & Safety. The bond can only be released once both parties – The owner and the Tenant - come to an agreement. 

How long does it take to get a bond back?

So, how long does it take to get a bond back? This is a commonly asked question and it all really depends on a case-by-case basis. Once the deductions are agreed (if any) it will take the Bond Administrator typically 7 to 10 days and can be done electronically through a bank transfer. In cases where there could be damages to be repaired and cleaning to be performed, the bond refund could take up to 6 weeks.

What is a Property Condition Report (PCR) and What Shall I Do with It?

When you start your tenancy, you will be given a Property Condition Report (PCR) which is a very important document. This report details the actual condition of the property and often includes pictures as well. You are encouraged to thoroughly check the report and revert with any changes necessary. You then have 7 days from the time you move into the property, to return the PCR. 

How easy or difficult is it to get the bond back, and how to get your rental bond back?

As the PCR details the original condition of the property and is used as a reference document at the end of the tenancy, it is important that the Tenants replace or fix all the items that have been damaged during the tenancy. It is expected that the property be handed back in the same condition as detailed in the initial PCR. Please ensure that it is well-cleaned and it is preferable to actually obtain the services of professional cleaners (particularly applicable if you have carpets).

The best advice we can provide is to review the PCR meticulously and ensure that the property is returned in the same condition as the start of the tenancy, less fair wear and tear. 

What should I do if there is maintenance required or damages to the property? 

Your first point of contact is your Property Manager so write to them straight away, as soon as possible if there is any suspected issue with the property. As Property Managers appreciate open communication, it is better to report anything if you are uncertain about it as bills can be hefty when it comes to neglected property maintenance. A property maintenance issue could end up as the responsibility of the tenant upon vacating, if not reported in a timely manner, so it is highly advisable to be quick in your reporting.

What are some interim reports along the way?

There will be regular Inspection Checklists that are sent so that Tenants can have the ease of mind knowing what is required. This checklist is sent along with the notice of inspection which takes place on a quarterly basis. 

When can I expect the Final Vacate Checklist and what does it contain?

Once you have decided to vacate, we will send you a letter confirming your intent to vacate and include a final vacate checklist so that you can best prepare for the final inspection. Kindly use the ingoing PCR as the required benchmark to determine the condition and how the property should be returned, at the end of their lease. 

How does it work with any outstanding utility bills? 

Any outstanding utility bills for water and electricity/gas, as well as rent should be paid on time and to the point of the vacate date. Otherwise, anything further due will be deducted from the bond. 

What recourse do I have to get my bond back if there is a disagreement?

If there is a disagreement with the property agent or owner which cannot be settled between both parties, you can apply to the court for a magistrate to decide on bond deductions. This should be done within 14 days.

What if I would like to dispute a bond?

You could go through the courts if you would like to dispute your bond. However, you will be required to go to your local Magistrates Court in the area where the property is located, for example, Perth, Fremantle, Midland or Rockingham. Just complete Form 12, an online application for a court hearing and you will be given the opportunity to present your case accordingly.

If you proactively follow up with your Property Manager on how to get your rental bond back and ensure that you follow through the regular inspection lists, you will be well prepared for the final vacate inspection (please see our blog on How to Prepare for Inspections). Ensuring that you return the property in its original condition should be your focus if you are keen on getting your rental bond back. If you are after Perth property management in Victoria Park, contact us for more information.

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