From the minute you enter the rental property world, the security bond becomes an important factor. Baxton Property Management in Hobart has come to know how to avoid disputes that can arise around the security bond if it is not fully understood by owners as well as tenants.
The first time out, the bond involves the tenant in finding an extra sum of money on top of the initial rental. Doing so can prove difficult on top of the other costs of setting up home in rental premises. But ultimately, if all goes well, it’s money that can be reclaimed and used again as a bond on future property rentals.
However, throughout your time as a tenant, it becomes a factor to consider if you hope to recover it intact at the end of your tenancy as doing so depends on how you care for the property, and how you behave as a tenant.
For the owner of the property, it is just as essential. It is the only security (other than paid-for rental insurance) the landlord has, to cover any necessary repairs to damages caused by a tenant or to recover unpaid monies from a tenant who absconds.
To ensure tenants receive their security bond back, it is very important to agree on the conditions report filled out at the beginning of the tenancy. It is a good idea to take photographs of condition of the property.
Owners as well as tenants should keep a rental file of all claims and requests, in case disputes or misunderstandings arise later.
Lodging the bond
A Bond Lodgement Form will be completed by the owner stating how much must be paid. This form must be signed by both owner and tenant. The bond payment and form is then lodged at Service Tasmania, a real estate agent, or directly with the Rental Deposit Authority (RDA).
A receipt for the bond and payment received is issued and copies are sent to the tenant and the owner (or agent) containing a very specific number, which will be needed at the end of the tenancy, to claim the bond back.
Getting the money back
The RDA doesn’t pay interest on security bonds, and not even the original amount lodged as a bond necessarily comes back in full to the tenant who paid it. The amount paid back at the end of the tenancy depends on whether or not claims have been made against it by the owner.
Claims by owners: An owner or agent can’t submit a bond claim form without the tenant’s signature, unless they can prove they have tried to contact the tenant through email, or phone calls.
The RDA will contact the tenant to make sure they agree with the owner’s claim. If the tenant does not agree, or can’t be contacted within 10 days, the matter will be handed over to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner (the Commissioner) as a ‘dispute’, and the claim will be assessed.
If a tenant is unsure why a claim is made against the bond, they should ask the owner, or agent. A list of reasons is compulsory. If the tenant doesn’t agree, the owner or agent must provide evidence.
The Commissioner will assess the dispute, and a formal copy will be sent in the post to the tenant. The tenant then has 7 days to appeal to the Magistrate’s court. If no appeal is lodged, the RDA will pay the claim on the bond to the owner. If the tenant lodged an appeal, the RDA will pay the bond on instruction from a Magistrate.
Claims by tenants: The tenant may submit a Bond Claim Form without the property owner or agent’s signature, if the owner fails to provide a signed Bond Claim Form, or can’t be contacted. The RDA will contact the owner or agent and, if contact can’t be made within10 working days, the bond will be paid to the tenant.
If all goes well
Typically the tenant should receive their bond back at the end of their tenancy after the agent or owner has made sure the property is in the same condition as when the lease was taken out.
Feel free to contact Baxton Property Management in Hobart with any further questions regarding security bonds, or rental issues.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
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