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A rental bond is money paid by or for the tenant, and is held by the RAB for the protection of the lessor in case the tenant breaches the tenancy agreement.

The RAB holds the bond in trust while the tenant lives in the place, and will pay it back when the tenant moves out (provided there is no disagreement).

It is not compulsory for a lessor to charge a tenant a rental bond. However, if a rental bond is charged, it must be lodged with the Rental Advice Board, within 10 days of receipt, together with a completed Bond Lodgement Form (Form 2).

The maximum bond which can be charged is the equivalent of four times the weekly rent, when the weekly rent is $300 or less. If the rent is more than $300, there is no limit to the amount of bond that may be charged. The Residential Tenancy Act contains special provisions regarding the charging of bonds when premises are rented from an employer.

At the start of the tenancy, the lessor/agent and only the tenant/s who are the bond contributor/s should be entered on the form. Only tenant/s who are the bond contributor/s and the lessor/agent should sign a bond lodgement Form.

It is the responsibility of the lessor/agent to ensure the form is completed correctly and to lodge the bond monies with the RAB within 10 days of receipt.

When a rental bond is collected, failure by the lessor/agent to lodge the rental bond with the RAB is an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act 1996.

Upon receipt of the form and the bond monies, the RAB will send an Official Receipt to each of the parties to the rental bond. The Official Receipt contains a Rental Bond Number which uniquely identifies the details of the tenancy. This should be used in all communications with the RAB.

You will find information about the bond refund process on the back of the Official Receipt.

At the completion of the term of the agreement the tenant and the lessor/agent can apply to the RAB for a refund of the rental bond to be paid to the tenant if there is no disagreement.

When there is agreement about refunding the Rental Bond

If the tenant and the lessor/agent agree on how the bond will be refunded, a Refund of Rental Bond (Form 4) must be completed.

If all the bond is being returned to the tenant (and this should happen if there are no problems with the place when the tenant moves out) the form should be completed and signed by both the tenant and the lessor/agent.

Where there is agreement, the RAB can pay out the rental bond money immediately to the tenant or transfer the bond to a new rental premises on behalf of the tenant.

When there is no agreement about refunding the Rental Bond

If the tenant and the lessor/agent don't agree on how the bond should be refunded, either party can complete a Refund of Rental Bond (Form 4) and post it to the RAB. The RTA will process the first form it receives.

The party completing the form, needs to indicate on the form what amount of bond they are claiming and also the date the tenancy ended.

When the RAB receives the form, they will send a Notice of Claim and a Dispute Resolution Request (Form 16), to the party or parties who have not signed the form.

The RAB allows 14 days (plus 2 days to allow for postal delivery) for those that did not sign the form to send the RAB the Dispute Resolution Request (Form 16). If a Form 16 is not received within that time the RAB will pay the bond as directed on the first form received.

If a Form 16 is received by the RAB, the Dispute Resolution Service will assist the parties to resolve the dispute.

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