Being a landlord is more than just collecting rents and maintaining property. It’s about relationships, open communication and mutual trust. As a landlord, it’s vital to understand your rights and responsibilities so that you don’t fall foul of the legislation in your state.

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Photo: iStock/Pogonici

It’s important to understand the rules setting out your obligations as a landlord.

At we regularly canvas our Renters, Landlords and Agents for feedback. This helps us improve our products and services by better understanding the needs of our users.

According to a recent Landlord bond survey, the majority of respondents indicated they are current landlords (95.5 per cent). A similar percentage (94 per cent) of these landlords said they collected a bond from their current / most recent tenant.

Of the remaining 5 per cent prompted to answer ‘Why didn’t you collect a bond?’, responses varied. Twenty-five per cent said they trusted their tenant and didn’t feel the need to take a bond, and 75 per cent concluded ‘Other’:

  • “I purchased the property through an agent who was managing the tenancy, and they suggested that I leave the bond in their trust account, which I did”
  • “I take the bond if required, depending on the length of their stay”
  • “Rental Bond Board is too much hassle and invasion of privacy. It took me one year to recover a bond from the Rental Bond Board after a previous tenant vacated.”

The majority of respondents said they lodged their bond with the government bond administrator (86.3 per cent); the remaining hold their tenant’s bond personally (10.5 per cent) or Other (3.1 per cent).

Why you should collect a rental bond

You should take a bond from your tenants as a security deposit. There are good reasons for this: If your tenant fails to keep the premises clean, damages your property or does not pay the rent, you can claim some or all of their bond at the end of the tenancy. This bond must be forwarded to your state residential tenancies bond authority. The authority will hold the bond on behalf of you and the tenant during the tenancy.

In most instances, the bond is equivalent to one month’s rent. But if you have an expensive property, or if the rental property was previously your home, the bond can be more than that. Once the tenancy has ended, you can claim on the bond if the property is not in the same condition as it was at the beginning of the tenancy. However, you need to be aware of what is commonly called ‘fair wear and tear‘. These issues cannot be claimed.

What you can make a claim on

  • Damage caused by your tenant or your tenant’s visitors.
  • Cleaning expenses.
  • Your tenant abandoning the premises.
  • Your tenant leaving the you to pay bills which they should have paid.
  • Loss of your goods.
  • Unpaid rent.

What if there is a disagreement about the bond?

If there is a disagreement about the bond, or if you want to claim compensation over and above the bond, you must apply to your state tribunal. In NSW, the arbiter is the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). In Victoria, you would need to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). All states and territories have respective bodies.

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  2. I have an enquiry regarding adverse possession. Are you able to discuss the rights of a landlord in the process of Adverse Possession who rents the property out to a tenant, Tenancy Agreement signed and in order. The tenant after four months renting is now challenging the legitimacy of me as the landlord. Where do I stand? Does the tenancy agreement have any value? The tenant refuses to pay any further rent. The bond is lodged with RTBA.

    He is either trying to take the property from me to commence claiming as adverse possession for himself?

    I’m interested in any thoughts you have. I thought the Tenancy Agreement is a signed deal and should stand and give me landlord rights.