Your guide to rental bond refunds

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TIPS FOR A SMOOTH BOND REFUND PROCESS

A bond refund request should be completed and sent to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) when a tenancy has ended.

The quickest way to commence the bond refund process is by using RTA Web Services. Tenants or property managers/owners can submit a bond refund form online or the paper-based Refund of rental bond (Form 4) on or after the tenancy end date or handover date has occurred.

Disagreement over how a bond will be paid out is the most common form of dispute the RTA receives, accounting for more than half of all disputes. Listed below is important information and vital tips to help make the process straightforward for everyone involved.

ENSURE UP-TO-DATE CONTACT AND BANKING DETAILS ARE PROVIDED

It is essential that all parties update their details with the RTA, including banking details. It’s important to note that refunds are paid into Australian bank accounts only. By providing the RTA with an email address, parties will receive updates on the progress of the bond refund. On average, the bond will be refunded within 2-3 days of the RTA receiving an agreed refund request.

COMMUNICATE EARLY AND OFTEN

The quickest and easiest way to make the bond refund process run smoothly for everyone is for the tenant and property manager/owner to reach agreement about how the bond will be paid out. Property managers/owners and tenants should communicate early and often to reach consensus.

Early discussions may be around cleaning of the property, whether any repairs are required, and other paperwork and processes required by the property manager/owner. This can help reduce the risk of surprises or disputes when the time comes to refund the bond.

SHARE INFORMATION, PHOTOS AND INVOICES TO FACILITATE AGREEMENT

Refer to the entry condition report and any other relevant documentation such as invoices or photos to support your conversations.

DISPUTED REFUNDS

These can occur when there is no agreement on how the bond should be paid, or when the bond refund form is not signed by all parties to the bond. In this situation, the RTA:

  • releases any undisputed amounts
  • holds any disputed amounts
  • sends a Notice of claim to the person/people whose signature/agreement is missing from the request. They have 14 days to disagree with the request or submit a dispute resolution request to the RTA. If they do not respond within 14 days, the bond is paid in full as directed by the first bond request.

Either party can make a claim on the rental bond if an agreement is not reached.

It’s important to note that in the event of a disputed refund, parties can still communicate with each other and try to self-resolve the issue.

IF MAKING A PARTIAL CLAIM, IT IS BEST PRACTICE TO RELEASE THE UNDISPUTED AMOUNT TO THE PARTY WHO IS OWED THE MONEY

In addition, any claim on the bond should be substantiated with details of the claim (e.g., the reasons for making the claim) and the amount.

BOND REFUNDS FOR tenancies IMPACTED BY DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE

Recent amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 provide options for people experiencing domestic and family violence who need to leave a tenancy. If a tenant is vacating a rental premises on grounds of experiencing domestic and family violence, they can request their bond contribution be refunded by completing a Bond refund for persons experiencing domestic and family violence (Form 4a).

It is an offence under Queensland tenancy law to knowingly give false or misleading information to the RTA. More information about the bond refund process can be found on the RTA’s website.

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