Refund Of A Rental Bond (Qld)
A bond is an amount of money paid by a tenant that is designed to protect a property owner against the tenant breaching a rental agreement. Common bond claims relate to rent in arrears and property damage. Laws for the payment and refund of rental bonds are set out in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
Residential Tenancies Authority
The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) receives, holds and pays rental bonds. When a lessor receives a bond from a tenant, the lessor must lodge the bond with the authority within 10 days, using a bond lodgement form (Form 2). The tenant will receive a notice of lodgement and payment receipt. The receipt must record the name and signature of the bond recipient, the names of the parties, the property address, the bond amount, and the date the bond was paid.
If there are co-tenants, the bond lodgement form can record the amount of bond money paid by each tenant. Each co-tenant must sign the form.
Under the Act, if the weekly rent is $700 or less, the maximum bond amount is equal to 4 weeks of rent. If the weekly rent is $700 or more, the bond amount is negotiated between the parties; there is no maximum amount under Act. If the lessor and tenant agree, the bond can be paid in instalments.
Vacating a property
A tenant must leave a property in the same condition as when they moved in, allowing for fair wear and tear.
The lessor or lessor’s agent must complete a property condition report before the tenant moves in. They must sign the report and give a copy to the tenant. Within 3 days of moving in, the tenant must sign the copy, mark any parts of the report that the tenant disagrees with, and return the copy to the lessor or agent.
At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must complete a property condition report. They must sign the report and give a copy to the lessor or lessor’s agent. Within 3 days of receiving the copy, the lessor or agent must sign the copy, mark any parts of the report that the lessor or agent disagrees with, and return the copy to the tenant.
The condition reports from the start and end of the tenancy are compared to determine any damage to the property, above fair wear and tear, which may impact on the amount of the bond to be refunded. Fair wear and tear is not defined in legislation but is generally considered to be deterioration due to normal use and ageing.
If the parties agree
If the tenant and lessor agree on the refund of the bond, in part or in full, a refund form (Form 4) signed by all parties can be lodged with the RTA. A refund is usually completed within 2 to 3 days.
If the parties disagree
If the tenant and lessor disagree on the refund of the bond, either party can lodge with the RTA a refund form without the other party’s signatures. The RTA will release any undisputed amounts, hold any disputed amounts and issue a notice of claim to the other party. A party receiving such a notice can:
- dispute the claim by lodging a dispute resolution request form (Form 16);
- agree with the person’s claim by signing the notice and returning it to the RTA;
- take no action.
If a party who has received a notice takes no action within 14 days, the RTA will refund the bond as per the refund form.
RTA Dispute Resolution
If a Form 16 is sent to the RTA, a conciliator will contact the parties and help them come to an agreement. Conciliation can include:
- phone negotiations where the conciliator facilitates exchange of information or documents between the parties;
- providing information about how the Act applies to the dispute;
- face-to-face conferences between the parties.
If conciliation is successful, the RTA can supply a written copy of the outcome. The authority will ask all parties complete a fresh refund form to allow release of the bond.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
If no agreement is reached via RTA Dispute Resolution, the RTA will issue a notice of unresolved dispute, which allows a party to apply within 7 days to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a decision. If no application is made to QCAT, the RTA will release the bond to the party that served the first refund form.
QCAT will send a copy of the claim to the other party, and a notice of the date and time of the hearing. At the hearing, the tribunal will assess the evidence presented by each party and make a final order. The RTA will release the bond according to the order.
For advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.