The rental bond is money paid by a tenant as a form of security in the event they breach their tenancy agreement. But as a self-managing landlord, what are your obligations when it comes to taking a bond? Here’s how things play out in each state and territory.
In New South Wales
While it’s not compulsory in New South Wales, taking a rental bond is highly recommended unless there’s a good reason not to do so. Be aware that a rental bond cannot be an amount more than 4 weeks’ rent. This is paid at the start of the tenancy and applies to all NSW rental properties, whether furnished or unfurnished.
In NSW, a rental bond can be paid in instalments if you, as the landlord, allow this. Most landlords request the tenant to pay the bond in one lump sum before handing over the keys to the property. However, landlords may allow a tenant to pay in instalments. If you are a self-managing landlord, you will need to be set-up with Rental Bonds Online.
In Victoria, there is no minimum rental bond amount, and a landlord can choose not to charge a rental bond if they wish. All rental bonds for properties in Victoria must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). It is an offence for a landlord or agent who receives money for bond from a tenant, not to lodge it with the RTBA.
If you’re a landlord or owner and take a bond from a tenant or resident, you must give them a completed and signed official Bond Lodgement form for them to sign and a copy of the Condition Report. Bond Lodgement forms can be generated at the RTBA Online website
In Queensland, the Act does not require a bond to be taken. However, most landlords will take the bond money as security for the premises. As a landlord in QLD, you are responsible for giving the tenant a receipt straight away, filling in a Bond Lodgment form that your tenants must sign and be sending all bond money and the form to the Residential Tenancies Authority within 10 days of receiving it.
In Western Australia
In Western Australia, a bond or security deposit is referred to as a ‘security bond’. There is no minimum security bond amount, and a landlord in WA may choose not to charge a security bond.
The bond is the tenant’s money and must be lodged with the Bond Administrator (Consumer Protection) until the end of the tenancy. In WA the security bond must not be more than four times the weekly rent; unless the weekly rent is more than $1200 per week.
In South Australia
Over in South Australia, bonds or security deposits are referred to as ‘rental bonds’ and these are administered by Consumer and Business Services. Landlords in SA can also choose not to charge a tenant a rental bond.
You must lodge a rental bond with CBS, along with a Bond Lodgement Form, signed by all the tenants and yourself (as the landlord). You have 2 weeks to lodge the Rental Bond with CBS.
In Tasmania, it’s not mandatory to charge a rental bond, and there’s no minimum rental bond amount. If you do choose to charge a ‘bond’ or ‘security deposit,’ this must be lodged with MyBond – a division of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.
The maximum bond that can be charged in TAS is the equivalent of 4 weeks rent. When the bond has been paid, you must provide your tenant with 2 copies of a completed condition report conducted on the premises. The condition report must be given to your tenant before they move into the premises and detail the general condition/state of the premises.
In the Northern Territory
There’s no obligation for landlords in the Northern Territory to charge a rental bond, nor any minimum rental bond amount. If you do charge a bond, however, the bond must be held in trust for the tenant in a secure bank account. As a landlord in the NT, you must pay the bond into a bank account. The bond will remain in this account for the period of the tenancy.
You’re also responsible for giving the tenant a receipt for the payment of the bond, stating the date the bond was paid, the name of your tenant, the amount paid, and the address of the leased premises.
In Australian Capital Territory
As with all other states and territories, there is no obligation for landlords in the ACT to charge a rental bond. The maximum bond that can be charged in the ACT is the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent. In the ACT, the bond is administered by the Office of Rental Bond (ORB).
The bond must be accompanied by the ‘Bond Lodgement’ form signed by the landlord and all the tenants. After receiving the Bond, ORB will send a notice to the party that did not lodge the Bond. If you or your tenant do not receive a notice within a few weeks, then you should contact ORB.