When renting a property in Australia, you’ll be required to pay a bond. This bond is a one-off payment that is made to the Renting Branch of the Office of Fair Trading, the Office of Rental Bonds, or the Residential Tenancies Fund. The amount you pay as bond is determined by the contract.

The bond authorities in each state and territory are as follows:

  • Australian Capital Territory – Office of Rental Bonds
  • New South Wales – Office of Fair Trading
  • Northern Territory – Department of Justice
  • Queensland – Residential Tenancies Authority
  •  South Australia – Residential Tenancies Fund
  • Tasmania – Rental Deposit Authority
  • Victoria – Residential Tenancies Bond Authority
  • Western Australia – Department of Commerce’s Bond Administration Section

Your bond is held for the duration of the rental agreement and will be given back to you at the end of your lease, providing nothing is damaged and you don’t break any of the rules of your contract.

How to guarantee you’ll get your bond back

Once you have agreed with your tenant regarding how the rental bond will be refunded, a signed refund form must be submitted to the relevant government office. Typically, bonds are credited by cheque or direct deposit.

In cases where you and your landlord disagree on how the bond should be refunded, one party must submit a refund form to the relevant government office. The office will then notify the other party and begin the dispute resolution process.

These disagreements may arise from tenants breaking their contract agreements in some way. Here’s how to avoid those:

  • Fill in an Entry Condition Report and take photos to record the condition of the home when you first move in. Keep a copy of these photos for yourself
  • Read all of the documents and Bond Return Form carefully before signing and agreeing to them so you understand what is expected of you during the course of your lease
  • Give written notice before you leave your lease
  • Do not cause damage to the home. General wear and tear is unavoidable but damage caused by negligence is not
  • Fill out an Exit Condition Report before leaving the property
  • Do not conduct any unapproved works such as a paint job
  • Avoid hanging pictures on the walls by puncturing holes

If you don’t think you will come to an agreement with the agent or owner about the bond return, immediately contact your governing body and notify them of your new address in case the first claim is made.