Most residential tenancies in Tasmania are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act 1997. The Act sets out the regulations around the payment and return of bonds.
What is a Bond?
A bond is the money that is paid the beginning of the tenancy as a financial security. It is used in the event that a tenant fails to meet their obligations under the tenancy agreement, such as fail to pay rent or cause damage to the property. It is not compulsory for a landlord/agent to charge a bond.
How Much Bond Can I be Charged?
The maximum amount of bond that can be charged is the equivalent of 4 weeks rent. It is an offence for a landlord or agent to charge more than this amount, and they could be fined for doing so.
If a landlord/agent requires a bond, they must provide two copies of a condition report. The condition report records the condition of the premises on the day the tenant moves in. Once the condition report is received, the tenant may inspect the property and make any amendments or additions to the condition reports, then sign and return one report to the landlord/agent within 2 days. It is very important that a copy of the condition report is kept, in case of dispute at the end of the lease. It is a good idea to take date photographs at this time.
Rental Deposit Authority
In July of 2009 Tasmania introduced the Rental Deposit Authority, also known as MyBond. This is a central body where bonds for leases, lease renewals and extensions are held. Bonds are not held by the landlord. From February 2012, bonds from leases entered into prior to July 2009 needed to be transferred into MyBond. There are penalties for the landlord/agent for non-compliance.
A tenant must lodge and pay the bond to MyBond along with the required forms. How a tenant lodges a bond depends on whether they are renting through an agent or a landlord.
When leasing through an AGENT the tenant can provide the bond to the agent and they must lodge it with MyBond within 3 working days. Many agents are connected to MyBond via computer and can issue a receipt immediately.
When leasing through a LANDLORD, tenants do NOT pay them the bond directly. The tenant must be provided with a Bond Lodgement Form signed by the landlord, stating the amount of the bond. This form is to accompany the lodgement of the bond and must be signed by everyone who contributed to the bond (including Colony 47, Anglicare and joint tenants, if applicable).
Payments and lodgements can be made at any Service Tasmania shop. Alternatively a bank cheque or money order can be posted to the Rental Deposit Authority at the following address:
Rental Deposit Authority
GPO Box 1244
Hobart Tasmania 7001
Upon lodging the bond, the tenant will receive several receipts. One of these may need to be returned to the landlord before gaining possession of the property (Note that it will take longer to get a bond receipt via post).
It is important that a copy of the receipt is kept, as it contains a bond number that will be needed when claiming the bond back.
MyBond holds the money until the end of the tenancy. They do not pay interest on the bond.
Claiming the Bond
At the end of a tenancy any person or organisation who has contributed to a bond and has signed the bond forms is entitled to make a claim. The landlord/agent must provide the tenant with a signed claim form within 3 days of the end of the lease. If all parties to the tenancy agree they should sign and submit their claim form. MyBond will pay out the bond as soon as possible, in the proportions agreed to on the Claim form.
What if someone does not sign Claim Form
A landlord/owner may lodge a Claim Form without the tenants’ signature. They must provide evidence to support any claim.
Mybond will send the tenant written notification of the Claim and the tenant has 10 days from receipt of the Claim to lodge a Dispute form.
A tenant may lodge a Claim Form without the signature of the landlord/agent if they have not received a signed Claim Form from the landlord/agent within 3 days of leaving the premises. The landlord/agent will receive a notification of this claim.
Bond disputes are decided by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner.
To dispute a claim against the bond, obtain a Dispute Form from www.mybond.tas.gov.au or Service Tasmania. File the form, within required time limits, including any supporting evidence such as: lease agreement, condition reports, rent receipts, any relevant correspondence, photographs and receipts associated with cleaning the property when it is vacated.
Once a formal copy of the decision is received a tenant has 7 days to appeal the matter. Appeal information will be included with the decision.
It is essential that MyBond has updated address and banking details upon the end of a tenancy to ensure the bond holders receive their bond or can dispute a matter within the required time limits.
How to Avoid a Bond Dispute
Abide by the terms of the lease, leaving the premises clean and undamaged. Keep good records in case of a dispute.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not legal advice. It is intended as a guide only. It applies only to legislation current in Tasmania as at 1 August 2015. For information regarding a specific tenancy problem please phone the Tenants’ Union on 1300 652 641 or (03) 6223 2641. The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania Inc. accepts no responsibility for actions based on this information, nor for actions based on electronic translations of this.