One of the most common questions our Property Managers get asked by tenants is, “How do I get my full bond back?”. Below we’ll give you some tips to help you be aware of what we, as agents, will look for when you vacate. We’ve also included a bond clean checklist to show what we’ll expect when you vacate. It’s important to be aware that some of the things we check can determine if we have to take a deduction from your Brisbane rental bond.
When a Brisbane rental bond is taken, the Property Manager or Property Owner must give the tenant a receipt and lodge it with the RTA within 10 days.
When a tenant vacates the property, the bond is paid back. However, if there is money owed for rent, utility bills, damages or other costs, then these may be deducted from the bond. If there are any monies remaining after these costs have been deducted, the remaining bond will be paid back to the tenant.
How do I get my Brisbane rental bond refund?
The quickest and easiest way to get a bond refund is for the tenant and the Property Manager or Property Owner to reach agreement about how the bond is to be refunded. This is called an undisputed refund. An undisputed refund happens only when –
An agreement on how the bond should be paid is reached between the tenant(s) and the Property Manager or Property Owner. This is usually done via the Refund of Rental Bond Form from the RTA; and
Everyone listed on the bond receipt signs the bond refund form.
Once the above has been completed the Property Manager or Property Owner will forward the refund request to the RTA to process. Once this has occurred the Property Manager or Property Owner have no control over when the bond refund is paid.
What happens if the refund is disputed?
The bond refund becomes disputed if either of the above conditions isn’t met. When this happens the RTA will:
release any undisputed amounts; and
hold any disputed amounts; and
send a Notice of claim to the people who did not sign the refund form (as required in point 2 above). These people will then have 14 days to dispute the bond claim.
How do I ensure my Brisbane rental bond is not disputed?
There a number of ways to avoid a dispute bond refund. For example:
Ensure that the tenant(s) and the Property Manager or Property Owner agree on how the bond will be refunded; and
Ensure that all of the tenant(s) listed on the current Bond Receipt sign the Bond Refund Form.
If all parties work together to resolve any outstanding issues and costs, there is no reason for a bond refund to be a drawn out process. Good communication, honesty and reasonable expectations will ensure that frustration and disappointments are avoided.
Top reasons a Property Manager or Property Owner may make a claim on a Brisbane rental bond
Unpaid utility bills
Pro rata cost for re-renting and advertising (if a tenant breaks their lease prior to its expiry date this may occur)
How can tenants avoid these claims?
Make sure that the rent and utility bills are paid up to the day that you vacate the property. This is crucial to avoid losing part or all of your bond.
Ensure that you have the property thoroughly cleaned when you vacate. Most tenants will hire a professional cleaner to do a “Bond Clean”. A Bond Clean is an extremely thorough clean and one that most people won’t necessarily be able to replicate should they choose to do a vacate clean themselves. It is also important to note that you may be required to steam clean carpets and/or get the property sprayed for pests when you vacate (this will be stated in your lease). If you are going to attempt a vacate clean, we’ve put together a checklist of items to clean (below).
Our best advice to tenants is to work with the Property Manager or Property Owner to come to an agreement about any Brisbane rental bond claim disputes. The Property Manager or Property Owner wants the matter resolved as quickly as the tenant does – and often negotiation and compromise can lead to a quick and effective resolution.
What is “fair wear and tear” and “reasonably clean”?
Everyone has a different interpretation of what is “fair wear and tear” and what is “reasonably clean”. This can therefore lead to disputes around cleaning and repairs. However, common sense should always prevail. For example, a hole in the wall is not fair wear and tear. Numerous stains or marks or burns to the carpet are not fair wear and tear. Greasy ovens are not reasonably clean. Dead insects in a window track is not reasonably clean.
When you move in to a property we advise taking photos of how things look – the walls, inside the cupboards, the windows, the floors. Take photos of marks or stains or chips that you find. Make sure you note these in the Entry Report that the Property Manager or Property Owner will give to you.
The bottom line is that a tenant should return the property in a state and condition as close to the condition which it was provided to them at the start of their tenancy.
Bond Cleaning Checklist
General – internal areas
Cobwebs removed internally
Ceiling fans and Exhaust fans cleaned
Light fittings dusted and wiped
Air conditioners including filters cleaned
Shelves and drawers cleaned
Power points and light switches cleaned
Hard surface floors vacuumed and mopped
Wardrobe doors, tracks, and shelves cleaned
Windows washed inside and outside where reachable
Window frames and door frames dusted and wiped
Window and door tracks cleaned
Skirting boards dusted and wiped
Carpeted floors vacuumed
Walls spot cleaned
Oven interior and exterior degreased and cleaned
Stovetop degreased and cleaned
Rang hood and filters degreased and cleaned
Bench tops, drawers, shelves, doors cleaned
Cupboards cleaned inside, outside and top
Dishwasher cleaned inside, outside and filters
Sinks and taps cleaned and polished
Splashbacks wiped and polished
Bathrooms & Toilets
Basins, taps and plug holes cleaned and polished
Cupboards inside and outside, shelves and drawers cleaned
Mirrors cleaned and polished
Shower screens, sills and tiles cleaned
Bath and plug holes cleaned
Toilet bowl and seat disinfected and cleaned inside and outside