Over the last few months, we have discussed the importance of in-going, routine and final inspections which leads to one of the reasons why all this matters… the bond refund.
A bond is a security deposit paid by the tenant to the landlord (or agent acting on behalf of the landlord) which must be lodged with Consumer and Business Services’ (CBS) section called Residential Bonds Online (RBO). The bond is normally paid at the beginning of the tenancy and there are maximum amounts the landlord and/or agent can ask for depending on the weekly rental amount being paid.
Nowadays bond lodgements must be actioned via an account the landlord and/or agent sets up with RBO on the website. A private landlord and/or agent have legal obligations to ensure any bonds collected from a tenant are lodged within a specific period of time. Once a bond is lodged a tenant will receive a “token” invite from RBO to set up an account with them or link an existing account with this bond lodgement number. A bond may be increased by the landlord and/or agent
during the tenancy, especially if there has been a rental increase. The bond increase amount must also be lodged through RBO within a certain period of time.
At the end of a tenancy the bond is either refunded to the tenant in full or part.
This will depend on whether or not the landlord has any claims for unpaid rent, water charges, cleaning, repairs due to damages caused by the tenant and/or break lease costs. These claims can be avoided by the tenant if they continue to pay their rent up to the end of the tenancy agreement and ensure the property is returned to the landlord/agent in a similar condition
as they commenced tenancy. This can be verified by referring to the in-going inspection report and photos.
Should the tenant have agreed expenses relating to finalising the tenancy these can be paid via cash or direct debit to the landlord/agent, avoiding bond loss. The importance of being able to process a bond refund online, via RBO, is the time in which the bond refund is processed. If the bond refund form is posted to CBS, the refund could take a considerably longer period of
time than the online application. This relates back to whether or not the tenant has an active RBO account which can be checked either with RBO or the landlord/agent. If not, RBO or the landlord/agent can organise to reissue the “token” invite to ensure the process of
the online refund isn’t delayed.
A tenant should also remember when they are looking for a new rental property, the new landlord/agent generally conducts a reference check on them with their previous landlord/agent. Their rental history on rent payments, routine inspections and bond refund could be discussed as part of determining their application success.
Check your bond status: https://secure.cbs.sa.gov.au/OLR/IVR/public/CheckBondStatus.php
Frequently asked questions: https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/96738/RBO_FAQs.pdf