Q. Who looks after the bond?
The Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) holds the bond during the tenancy.
The tenant has to pay the bond to the landlord or agent. The landlord or agent and the tenant have to complete and sign the official bond lodgement form. The Bond Authority needs the details and signatures on the form to be able to pay out the bond as directed at the end of the tenancy. If there is a change of landlord during the tenancy or a new tenant takes over the tenancy, the Bond Authority must be told.
Bond lodgement forms are available from Consumer and Business Affairs Victoria. The top sheet is marked 'Authority'. Underneath, there is a 'tenant ' copy, which the tenant has to be given as an interim receipt and another copy for the landlord or agent.
Q. How much should the bond be?
Normally, the bond cannot be more than a months rent if the rent is $350 a week or less. A landlord or agent who wants a higher bond must apply to the Tribunal.
Q. Does there have to be a condition report?
A landlord or agent taking a bond has to prepare a condition report on the premises. This report sets out the state of repair or general condition of the premises, including any items as being good, fair or poor.
The condition report is evidence that can be used if there is a dispute later about who should pay for cleaning, damage or missing items. If it is done properly, it can be conclusive proof.
There should be space for comments if the tenant disagrees with the report. The tenant should check the report, put in any comments, sign it and return one (1) signed copy to the landlord or agent. The deadline is three (3) business days after occupying the premises.
The tenant should keep the other copy of the condition report until the end of the tenancy. The landlord or agent might claim some or all of the bond for cleaning, repairs or missing items. If the report says the job already needed to be done at the start of the tenancy or the items were not listed, it can help prove that the bond should be returned to tenant.
Q. What are the factors affecting bond claim upon vacating?
To be able to claim a full refund of the bond, you need to satisfy the following requirements upon vacating: 1) all keys, swipes and garage remote controls are returned in good and working condition to our office; 2) all broken light bulbs have been replaced; 3) the property is in a neat, clean, and damage free condition. 4) the property is rubbish free and all personal belongings, including pot plants, furniture, food, white goods, clothes, and files, have been removed; 5) professional carpet cleaning invoice is presented; 6) if applicable, the garden is in a reasonably well maintained condition; 7) if applicable, there is no missing item.
Q. When can I claim my bond back upon vacating?
We will conduct a final inspection within the 5 business days after you vacate and send you a notice of our final inspection result generally within 1~2 weeks after the final inspection. Upon agreement of the amount of bond to be refunded, we will process the bond claim with RTBA. It will generally take RTBA 1~2 busienss days to bank the fund to your nominated bank account.
Tenants have a duty to pay rent and to continue paying the rent until the tenancy actually ends.
Under most tenancy agreements, the rent will be payable in advance at the start of the tenancy. If the next regular payment is late or not made, the tenant will be behind with the rent straight away and the landlord or agent may take action against the tenant.
Q. Can the tenant stop paying rent for the last month if the bond will cover it?
No. The bond is separate. A tenant can be fined $1,000 for trying to treat any part of the bond as rent.
Bringing in Other People
The tenant has to get the landlord's or agent's written permission before assigning or sub - letting the premises or any part of the premises. If a tenant does get the landlord's or agent's permission, then a new tenancy agreement needs to be entered into and matters relating to the bond and condition report need to be resolved.
Q. What counts as an urgent repair?
An urgent repair is any work needed to fix:
- a burst water service
- a blocked or broken lavatory system
- a serious roof leak
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm or fire damage
- a failure or breakdown by any essential service or appliance provided by the landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating or laundry
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
- any fault or damage that makes the rented premises unsafe or insecure
- an appliance, fitting or fixture which is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted, or
- a serious fault in a lift or staircase in the rented premises.
Q. What to do about urgent repairs
If urgent repairs are needed the tenant should first take reasonable steps to arrange for the landlord or agent to fix the problem.
If the tenant is not able to get the landlord or agent to carry our urgent repairs, the tenant can have them done and the landlord or agent will have to pay the tenant the reasonable cost of repairs or $1,000, whichever is less. If a water appliance, fitting or fixture needs to be replaced quickly as part of an urgent repair arranged by the tenant, the tenant can have an 'A' rated item put in.
Ending a Tenancy Agreement Early
If the tenant wish to vacate the property earlier before the expiring date in a fixed term lease, the tenant must first inform the agent of this intention in writing to email@example.com. Until the commencement of a following tenancy, the tenant will be liable to
a. Pay rent till the expiring date in the fixed term lease or the date a new lease starts, whichever is earlier;
b. Reimburse the landlord for the letting fee on a pro-rata basic on the remaining time of the fixed term of the tenancy;
c. Pay all advertising expenses.
Just walking out and stopping rent payments is a breach of contract. The Tribunal can award compensation for money lost as a result (for example rent lost while the premises are empty, ie advertising costs).
Upon your fixed term lease expires, you will require to provide the agent with a 28 days writing notice to terminate the lease and vacate the property. If such notice is not received, your lease will automatically become "periodic term", on a month to month base. Alternatively, if you wish to extend the lease, you can renew the lease with another fixed term lease.