Renting Basics: How to Get Your Bond Back
It's the end of the tenancy and you want to get your bond back. Here are some simple things to keep in mind to make reclaiming your bond a cinch.
Provide Sufficient Notice to Your Landlord
Always provide enough notice to your landlord or real estate agent before moving out. This will help them to find new tenants and prepare the property for inspection. Not to mention, it will put you in their good books when the time comes to hand over your keys. Keep in mind that if you break the lease early and haven’t paid the break fee, you might be liable to have it taken out of your bond. For these reasons, always notify your landlord in writing of your impending move within the given timeframe outlined in your contract.
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 percent 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 review your agreement, checking off your obligations.
Fix Issues as They Arise
If you’re wondering how to get your bond back, just remember that your rental property will need to be returned in the same conditions as you received it (less wear and tear). For example, if a latch on the door has come loose or a window is broken, don’t wait until you move out so that the landlord has to fix it. Let your landlord know immediately and repair it or pay to get it fixed. It is also a good idea to take time-stamped photos of the property and include pictures of any cracks, broken items, or missing fittings to send to your property manager. Please refer to your condition report if have any queries.
Attend Your Final Property Inspection
Before you get your rental deposit back, most landlords or property managers will want to have a pre-vacate inspection. This allows them to get a better idea of the property’s condition and to inspect any issues or make any repairs before you move out. It’s worth attending this final property inspection so that you can address any issues that come up and hand over any relevant household items.
Complete All Rental Payments/Invoices
Before you move out, make sure that all your rental payments and invoices are settled. This is the final step in getting your rental bond refund. If you don’t complete all rental payments, you risk getting blacklisted on the tenancy database. This can negatively affect your future chances of applying for a rental property.
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 a 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.
DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or linksShare