Renting Basics: How to Get Your Bond Back
End of Tenancy Nerves
It's the dreaded end of any tenancy - the final inspection. It can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, waiting as the landlord goes through your rental property with a fine-toothed comb, ensuring all cleaning obligations have been met.
While CoreLogic RP Data's April 2015 Quarterly Rental Review shows the supply of residential rentals is on the rise, maintaining a good reputation as a tenant is still crucial in the competitive market. There are however some simple things to keep in mind to stay on your landlord's good side and make reclaiming your bond a cinch.
Don't Leave Cleaning to the End
The simplest action to make sure your landlord is satisfied at the final inspection is to keep things clean and well-maintained from the beginning. It's easy when you start a tenancy to put cleaning on the back burner, safe in the knowledge that you'll have time for it later.
Keeping a clean household, whether you're living alone, with family or in shared accommodation, only becomes more difficult when you neglect it. If things get out of hand, you can bring in professional cleaning help. The costs of household services however - which have risen almost 2 per cent in the last year - can add up, leaving you opening your wallet just to try and get money back.
Follow Your Tenancy Agreement
For better or worse, everything required of you is laid out in your tenancy agreement, the legal document you signed at the beginning of your stay. Before scheduling your final inspection, carefully go through your agreement, checking off your obligations.
In some cases there will be conditions that differ between tenancies, so make sure to read everything carefully, following the agreement to the letter. Your opinion on whether your carpets need steam-cleaning is irrelevant - if you agreed to it, it's your responsibility and you must follow through.
Fight for your Rights
In most cases, the landlord will be satisfied with the state of the property and the bond will be refunded within 2-3 weeks. If you feel your obligations as tenant have been met but the landlord disagrees, then there is a system in place for arguing your position. However, as James Bennett from the Tenants Union of Victoria says, "unfortunately, tenants are often unaware of their rights or are reluctant to enforce the rights they do have for fear of possible reprisal."
States vary in terms of which agency handles bond disputes, but the procedure remains mostly the same. The tenant will be notified by the corresponding agency of the landlord's claim, and have a prescribed amount of time (usually 7-14 days) to respond. If you think it's possible your bond claim will be disputed, it pays to read up on the laws particular to your state.