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Bond Recovery: Comprehensive Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities of Owners and Tenants

Both Property Owners and Tenants need to understand their legal rights and responsibilities in the rental market so that the best outcomes are made possible through the property journey. It is also important to understand your obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1989.

After 70 years of being in the Perth real estate industry, we have observed the most common and repeated tenancy issues and bond disputes, which could helpfully be proactively addressed. We hope to clarify and help our Owners and Tenants intentionally manage a positive relationship by preparing this article where the most common disputes often lie.

This article will address:

– What are the most common tenancy issues and bond disputes?

– How can we proactively manage to ensure a good relationship throughout and at the end of a tenancy?

1. Cleaning

Known as bond cleaning, end-of-lease cleaning or exit cleaning, this is by far the most common area of dispute at the end of the bond. The property has to be left clean as per the commencement of the tenancy, detailed in the initial Property Condition Report. We highly recommend the use of professional cleaners. As a general guide, here are some points to look into for a bond clean:

  • Steam-clean the carpets
    In most cases, professional carpet steam cleaning is required. You may be asked to provide a contractor receipt as proof of professional cleaning.
  • Ovens and rangehoods:
    Grease range from mild to heavy depending on usage. Cleaning the oven only can take up to an hour for the degreaser to take effect. Don’t forget to clean the filter and exhaust the range hood.
  • Walls and skirting boards:
    Remove all traces from walls and remove dust from all baseboards.
  • Curtains, Blinds, Blinds:
    Dust, wipe and wash all types of blinds including wood and fabric blinds.
  • Windows and window frames:
    Remove all dust deposits and dead insects from window frames, window frames, and all other accessories.
  • Shelves and drawers:
    Wipe down all drawers and dust the tops of all cabinets. Exhaust and ceiling fans:
    Remove dust from accessible exhaust and ceiling fans.
  • Floor:
    Wash all non-carpeted floors to remove dirt.
  • Bathrooms and Toilet areas
    Clean crevices in toilets, baths and showers, remove soap scum buildup, clean sinks and all fixtures. Clean toilet, bath, shower recess, remove built up soap residue, clean sink and all tapware

 2, Mould

As the winter season beckons around the corner, mould is another area that requires attention. While it is the Property Owner’s responsibility to ensure that there is no leakage to the plumbing or a fixture issue that causes the problem, under tenancy law, tenants may be in breach if they: 

  • get the carpet wet and fail to treat it and dry it out properly.
  • don’t aerate a bathroom sufficiently by using exhaust fans or opening windows and doors.
  • leave pools of water on the tiles outside the shower and let scum build-up.
  • dry clothing indoors and fail to air the room afterward, allowing the dampness to disappear.

Our article on Mould Prevention will help you effectively get rid of mould instead of spreading the spores further by using popularly mistaken applications. This is for the safety of your health and that of your family. For more information on available here.

3. Pets

Whether or not a pet is allowed on a premise is still up to the discretion of the property owner. If pets are allowed, tenants may be required to pay a pet bond of up to $260. The pet bond will be applied to the cost of any fumigation of the premises that may be required at the termination of the tenancy.

4. Plants/ Lawns

 Especially in dry seasons, plants and lawns need to be given adequate water to allow them to flourish in the wetter seasons. Tenants are responsible for the overall outdoor garden maintenance of the property. Tenants are also responsible for garden maintenance, such as mowing and edging lawns, weeding, and light pruning. They are also responsible for hand watering the garden, where reasonable. The Property Owner should provide the necessary hoses, sprinklers, and amenities and are responsible for the normal maintenance of any garden reticulation system. Note: if the maintenance of the reticulation systems is delayed, tenants can claim that the lawns or gardens are withering away due to their inability to water them properly.

5. Fixtures on walls etc

 Recent changes in the RTA allow tenants to affix furniture to the wall for the protection of children or persons with disability, with the consent of the owner and the understanding that they will be required to make good the property upon vacating. See:

However, tenants are technically not allowed to make alterations to the property and must obtain prior consent (including even a picture hook or a garden bed).

6. Neglectful damage vs Fair wear & tear

Tenants are only responsible for neglectful damage costs and the Owner, from ‘fair wear and tear’. The following examples may help to explain the difference between wear and tear and damage:

 Examples of neglectful damage (Tenant)

  • Stains or burns from things you dropped or placed on carpets including soiling by pets.
  • You forgot your key and broke a lock to get in.
  • Mould/mildew has formed because the dwelling was not aired adequately.
  • Your pet damages the curtains.

 Examples of Fair Wear & Tear (Owner)

  • Carpet wear in corridors or other areas used frequently.
  • The lock broke because it was old and had worn out.
  • Paint that is flaking because it is old or not applied properly.
  • Curtains faded from years of sunlight.

 7. Handing over the keys

 At the end of the tenancy, the keys are returned to be returned to the Property Management office on the day the premise is vacated, or additional rental charges will be incurred. If the tenants are required to remedy any damages or issues, they are allowed back to the premise, and these works must be completed as soon as possible.

 8. Pest and vermin control

Generally, any outbreak or infestation of vermin requiring the attention of a pest control operator is the responsibility of the Owner. However, the Tenant is responsible for any infestations if there is evidence that they were caused by their own activities or their pets. They are also required to take regular basic pest prevention measures such as proper food storage, keeping the premises clean, and the use of sprays as well as baits.

In addition, to add value to your rental journey, we have prepared a detailed article on how to get your bond back that will help our Tenants protect their bonds. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to read the Property Condition Report, which is given to the Tenant and they are required to return the PCR within 7 days of the tenancy commencement. and revert with any feedback. 

If you proactively follow up with your Property Manager on any maintenance issues, ensure that you are prepared for regular and final inspections (please see our blog on How to Prepare for Inspections), return the property in its original condition, you should have a wonderful tenancy experience in WA.

Would you like to know more how we can help? Get Your Free Property Appraisal Today.


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