For tenants: How to get your bond back
We often find there is confusion surrounding the entitlement or otherwise to bond refunds at the end of a tenancy.
For a tenant to get their bond back they must leave the property in the condition it was in when they moved in – fair wear and tear excepted.
So what is ‘fair wear and tear’?
The term ‘fair wear and tear’ is not defined in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) nor is it defined in the accompanying Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 (the Regulations). Further, the term is not defined in the tenancy agreement.
However, the standard terms of the tenancy agreement give an example of what may be fair wear and tear:
- wear that happens during normal use, or
- changes that happen with ageing
This is where the importance of the Entry Condition report comes into play. The best way to avoid disputes about fair wear and tear is by properly and thoroughly completing the Entry Condition report at the commencement of the tenancy. It is on this report that tenants should note any damage or deterioration to the property.
Also, if tenants want their bond back quickly they should nominate a bank account on the refund of bond form to enable the RTA to effect a direct deposit into the nominated account. If a tenant wishes to receive their refund by cheque they must ensure their forwarding address is on the bond refund form. NOTE: neither the property manager nor owner are responsible for informing the RTA of the former tenant/resident’s new address.
The RTA usually process the refund applications within 2-3 working days if the form is completed correctly. We would suggest waiting 1 week before expecting a bond refund.