For renters, the end of a lease can be a hectic time. There are so many loose ends to tie up, and the one where you must approach the estate agent for getting your bond back can be the most stressful.
The rental bond is a security deposit in case the tenancy agreement is not fulfilled. Any major damages to the rental property during your lease will be paid for from that deposit, but if you take good care of the place most, if not all, will be returned to you.
While a small amount of wear and tear is expected during the time you pay rent, for a full refund of bond money, near-perfect cleanliness and unbroken fixtures at the final inspection will seal the deal.
What To Do at the End of a Rental Period
Actually, let’s start at the beginning of your rental period. In the first few days in your new home, you will be expected to make you own condition report. That is, make a list of all the faults in the house or apartment. You can even take photos — in fact, this is advised. List all scratches and marks, loose electrical wires, and wonky furniture.
This condition report will be priceless when claiming the bond. For optimal transparency between you and the property manager, being aware of the damages that are not your fault will make a full bond refund within grasp.
Whether you are on a fixed term agreement or a periodic agreement, you must have a clear idea of the date of final inspection and when the lease ends. Plan your time well to make sure you finalise bill payments and disconnect your telephone and internet services. Then, don’t forget to clean.
Cleaning a Rental Property Before Moving Out
You may think that your place is clean enough. Sure, you keep things tidy and do a weekly clean of the kitchen and bathroom, but when an agent and landlord inspect your home at the end of your lease, they will look with a magnifying glass.
Have you taken care of the dust along the skirting board? Have you cleaned the dust and grime off the venetians? Did you blast the scum off the bathroom grout? Did you wipe down cupboards and wall surfaces? What about vacuuming behind the fridge and under the furniture?
These are the most overlooked places that harbour dirt around the house, and some agents will find every last scratch on the wall that was not recorded in the condition report. This means your bond will be used to pay for anything dirty, damaged, or out of place around the house.
Hiring a professional cleaner may help you save time and the headache of getting to all the hard to reach spots, and may be cheaper than getting pinged after the inspection.
Or, it may save you money to roll up your sleeves and organise a working bee with a group of friends or family, scouring every last corner for filth.
Tips to Get a Rental Bond Back: Claiming the Full Bond
These days the most common way of arranging a bond payment is through the online portal of Rental Bonds Online (RBO) through NSW Fair Trading. It is transparent and both tenant and agent can view where the money rests while the lease is active.
If the inspection at the end of your lease goes well and you are entitled to a full refund, then you can make a claim for refund on RBO and you should be issued the bond back within 2 days of the claim.
If you and the agent or landlord are not in agreement over the refund amount, you can still submit your claim using RBO. The landlord/agent then has 14 days to apply for a hearing with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to contest the claim. If they do not do so within the 14 days, the refund amount you claimed will be paid to you.
Otherwise, the landlord/agent can submit their own claim, and you will be emailed a Notice of Claim. You can then either agree to the amount, or inform Fair Trading within 14 days that you’ve applied to NCAT for a hearing to dispute the amount, or take no action, and after 14 days the bond will be paid out as per the landlord’s claim.