Monday, 17 February 2014 10:21

End of tenancy time? Here's how to reclaim your rental bond

Moving Out CleaningReclaiming your bond need not be a scary business. Knowledge is power, it's said, and if you know the law and how the process works and do the right thing, you should be ready for most problems. This blog draws on information provided by the NSW Department of Fair Trading, Tenants NSW and the State Library of NSW and should help you understand your rights as a tenant.


End-of-tenancy time? Here's how to reclaim your rental bond

(Please note this blog applies to NSW only and is intended as a general guide only. It should not be treated as legal advice.)

Get the ball rolling

According to the law in NSW, when you leave a rented home you must ensure it is in reasonable condition (allowing for fair wear and tear – see below), clear it of trash and ensure it is reasonably clean. The State Library of NSW suggests that once it is empty, you should take photos for your records. One you are satisfied the premises are in fair order, contact the agent (or landlord) to arrange an inspection. The agent must play fair by giving you a reasonable chance to attend and you are urged to do so. During the inspection, refer to the condition report you signed at the start of your tenancy. If there are minor issues you may both be able to deal with them then and there. If the premises need cleaning, the agent might give you access to do the work yourself (or you can call in DBG Cleaning Cleaning Services – end of lease cleaning is a specialty of ours). The agent can, however, get commercial cleaners in and bill you or add this cost to what he or she claims you owe. Make it clear, however, that your tenancy has ended and you will pay no more rent.

When you and the agent agree

Moving out cleaning


Consider using a move-out cleaning service to reduce your to-do list

If you both agree on the condition of the premises, you both should complete the condition report. If it is agreed that you, the tenant, do not need to return to the premises, now is the time to hand over the keys – all of them. If the agent agrees the premises are in reasonable condition, or if you as the departing tenant concede that one or more items need attention and have agreed on the amount required, your bond can be paid out. Note it can either be paid in full to you or to the landlord, or split between you. In most instances, it is best to organise this yourself. Ask the agent to fill out and sign a Claim for Refund of Bond Money form (available at click here), then lodge it with Fair Trading. Tip: To get your money quickly, fax it. If the agent offers to lodge the Claim for Refund of Bond Money form, do not sign it if it is blank. Ensure the bond refund amount is filled in and your forwarding address is given.    

Tip: The State Library of NSW suggests you should download your own Claim for Refund of Bond Money form before the inspection. Then, if there is a dispute, that you get your form in first. This way the agent will have to apply to dispute your claim, and pay the fee.

If you and the landlord disagree, get in first!

If you are in dispute over how the bond should be paid or divided, lodge a Claim for Refund of Bond Money form yourself without the agent’s or landlord’s signature on it. Fill in the dollar amount you think is fair, include your forwarding address and fax the form to Fair Trading. Its Renting Services department will post a notice to the agent giving him or her 14 days to contest your claim by applying to NSW’s new super tribunal, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal. If he or she does not respond within that time, the bond will be paid to you. If the agent applies to the tribunal for a hearing, the bond will be held until the dispute is settled. You will receive a notice from the tribunal if this is the case. You should attend the hearing and have evidence on hand that supports your position. If your landlord makes a claim on the bond, he or she must supply you a copy of the condition report from the final inspection, and copies of any receipts or quotes. Be aware these papers – and the notice of claim from Renting Services – will likely be sent to your old address. If a hearing is held, it is up to the other side to show you owe what it claims. If the agent claims old, damaged items had to be replaced with new, counter that the cost should reflect the depreciation of the old items.

What is fair wear and tear?

You are not responsible for fair wear and tear, the deterioration that inevitably occurs as a result of ageing or normal wear. You are liable for damage caused by your negligence, irresponsibility or intentional acts.

Interest on bond money

Some interest may be paid on your returned bond money, but this will be minuscule.

Useful contacts

Fair Trading (NSW Government)
TenantsNSW (Tenants’ Union of NSW)
State Library of NSW
Aboriginal tenancy information (Fair Trading) Phone 1800 500 330

How DBG Cleaning can help at end-of-lease cleaning time

Want to minimise the chance of a dispute over the cleanliness of the house, townhouse or unit you are vacating? Call in DBG Cleaning Cleaning Services, one of Sydney’s premier commercial cleaning companies. End of lease cleaning is a specialty of ours – we work to a stringent check list so you can be sure of a top cleaning job. Get an end-of-lease cleaning quote or contact us directly.


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