How Long Does A Landlord Have To Return Bond?
Rental bonds form a significant part of any tenancy agreement. You are entitled to a bond refund when you leave a property at the end of the tenancy period. You will receive your bond amount at the end of your rental agreement, as long as you have not damaged the property or its contents. If the landlord holds your bond, they need to refund it.
On the other hand, if the bond is held in a custodial scheme, you need to request the bond through the scheme. However, remember that you cannot claim your bond money until your tenancy period is over. So, how long does a landlord have to return the bond? This is the question that this article focuses on, so read on to find out.
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What Is A Rental Bond?
Rental bonds refer to a certain amount of money that tenants pay to their landlord at the start of a residential tenancy. The bond amount is stipulated in the tenancy agreement, and a receipt is provided after you make the payment. Although it is not mandatory to pay the bond money when renting a property, landlords can ask for the payment as a form of security, should the tenant go against any terms and conditions that apply in the tenancy agreement. In most cases, the bond amount equals one month’s rent or less.
When Should You Expect Your Bond Refund?
Before you can get back your bond in full, your landlord or rental provider performs a thorough inspection for any damages within the rental property. This inspection ensures that they confirm if there is damage to their property that can lead to bond deductions.
The time limit it takes for you to get back the bond claimed depends on your tenancy agreement. In most cases, it does not take more than fourteen days after your tenancy period to get your residential bond back. As mentioned above, this is determined by whether you have done any damage to the property.
Rules For Rental Bonds Refund
If your landlord holds your bond, they are obliged to refund within the stipulated time in the tenancy agreement. You cannot claim a bond refund before the tenancy is over. If your bond is held in a custodial scheme, you can request a refund directly through that scheme. The scheme usually asks your landlord to agree with the request before giving you the bond refund.
The deposit protection services cannot give you a refund if an insurance scheme protects the bond. This is because your bond is in possession of your landlord. If your landlord uses an insurance-based scheme, they will pay the refund or inform you of all the accrued deductions once they receive the request of repayment from the insurance company.
How To Request For Your Bond Money
When the residential tenancy period expires, you should make a request to get your deposit back. Below are the steps to follow when claiming a bond refund.
Ask for Your Tenancy Bond
Ask your landlord, property manager, or renting agent to refund your bond. You can request for the bond online, by writing or sending an email to those holding your bond. The method you use is indicated in the tenancy agreement. Some landlords or property managers provide a claim form for you to use to request your bond.
Contact the Tenancy Deposit Scheme
If your landlord paid your bond into a bond protection scheme, you should contact them to refund your money. Your landlord can also request for your bond on your behalf, depending on the rental agreement. The tenancy deposit scheme may refund a part of the bond to you and the rest to your landlord. The landlord then gives you the amount refunded to them after confirming that their property is in perfect condition.
What Should You Do If there Is A Bond Dispute?
The landlord might make some deductions on your refund money if they find some damages in their property. If you do not agree with these deductions, you can lodge a dispute. In the event that you feel that the deductions are not reasonable, you can either contact the tenants union to file a complaint on your behalf or file it yourself. To lodge a bond complaint, you can go for any of the options below:
Challenge the Deduction to the Landlord
Should your landlord refund your bond with deductions, they should inform you of the reasons through writing. Some of the reasons your landlord might make deductions on your bond include; damages caused to the property, leaving their property in poor conditions, or unpaid rent. The landlord can also make the deductions from your bond for the replacement of damaged or lost items like keys.
Your landlord should not make deductions for the cost of repairs for damages that were there before you moved into the house, the cost of normal wear and tear repairs, or the cost of cleaning the property if you leave it the way you found it. If the landlord fails to explain the deductions, you should ask for a clear explanation.
Take Court Action
If your landlord fails to refund a part of or the full bond amount, you can take legal action against them. However, this should be the last resort since it can cost you money to take this action. Only take this action if you are sure that the deductions do not have any basis. Your case will be handled by the civil and administrative tribunal resulting in an amicable solution.
If you have an assured shorthold residential tenancy, you can claim compensation if your landlord breaks the tenancy bond protection laws. This includes failure to protect your bond or not giving you the required information regarding the scheme they used to protect your bond.
Factors That Affect The Duration Your Landlord Takes To Return Your Bond Refund
Although there is a timeline indicated in the tenancy agreement on when you should receive your bond refund, some factors can cause a delay. Some of these factors include:
Dispute on Bond Claimed
If your landlord fails to agree with the amount of bond you are claiming for a refund, they will not sign the bond claim form. However, you should make sure you submit the claim form, after which your landlord will be notified by the bond administrator regarding your claim.
If there is no dispute within fourteen days, you will receive your bond without delays. If a dispute arises, there will be involvement of an administrative tribunal, who will then finalise the amount of bond you get.
Bond Claims by Your Landlord
Your landlord might make substantiated claims from the bond refund to be paid out of all the works done on their property during the tenancy period. They can also make claims depending on the damage you caused to their property. In this case, the landlord provides proof of the claims, including invoices, receipts, and others. They may also give a condition report for any evident damage.
The civil and administrative tribunal will then send you a notice. You can either agree to the claims or choose to dispute them. If you dispute the claims made by the landlord, this will delay the time it will take to get your bond refund.
Leaving the Rental Property in Poor Condition
You should leave the rental property in the same condition it was when you moved in. In addition to any damages to the rental property, leaving it in bad condition can delay the time it takes to get your bond back. Your landlord expects you to leave their property in good condition. This ensures that they do not incur a lot of costs doing unnecessary cleanups after you move out.
Note that your tenancy agreement may stipulate that you perform a bond clean when vacating the property. Thus, you should make sure you leave the property spotless to get your bond money within the specified timeline.
How To Ensure That You Get Your Bond Money Within The Agreed Timeline
You do not want a lot of disputes or claims from your landlord after your tenancy period. Therefore, it is necessary to take the right steps to ensure that you get your refund and move on with your life in your new property. Here are some of the things you should do to get your refund money within the agreed-upon time.
Take Photos as You Move Out
As you move out of the property, it is crucial to take photos. The photos will act as evidence if your landlord decides to make any claim against you. Keep in mind that anything can happen when you vacate the property, and your landlord can blame you. Therefore, the photos will support your case and ensure that you do not incur deductions for damages you did not cause.
Clean Up the Property
As you plan to vacate the property, ensure you clean and leave it in the same condition it was when you moved in. You can mop and sweep the floor and other necessary things before leaving. Ensure that all the windows are clean and fix any broken locks. This ensures that your landlord is satisfied with the state of their property and has no issues refunding your bond.
Have an Inspection Checklist
When you move into a property, you need to create a checklist of all the items in the property and the condition they are in. Check what needs repairs and create two copies of the inspection checklist. Give one copy to your landlord and keep the other. This ensures that the landlord cannot claim that some items are missing or damaged when you want to move out.
Damages and Repairs
If you have caused any damage to the property, it is advisable to do the necessary repairs. This is important because with such damages, you can be sure that your landlord will make deductions from your bond refund. If any damages arise when you are occupying the property, notify your landlord immediately. Most landlords are willing to fix damages as part of their property maintenance. If there are no damages as you vacate the property, you get your bond back within the agreed-upon time.
So How Long Does It Take For Your Landlord To Return Your Bond?
There is no specified time it may take for your landlord to give your bond back to answer this question. In most cases, it depends on the tenancy agreement. However, other issues such as disputes or claims by the landlord can increase the time it takes to receive your bond. However, you can make sure you get the bond money within the specified time by leaving the house in good condition.
Do You Need Professional Help To Get Your Bond?
To ensure you get the bond refund in good time, you can hire an end of lease cleaning service to get the property cleaned. They follow all the guidelines provided to ensure that the property is in perfect condition and allow you to get your bond back within the stipulated time.