The tenant needs to either communicate to their agent or landlord to have their bond refunded. In some cases, the tenant will need to apply directly to the state or territory authority.
Generally, if an application is made by the landlord to have a bond refunded in whole to the tenant, or by the tenant in whole to the landlord, or the application is made jointly, it will be paid out as specified in the application.
State or Territory Requirements
If the tenant has a Rental Bonds Online account and does not agree with the agent or landlord about how the bond should be paid out, or if they are taking too long, the tenant should submit a Claim for Refund of Bond form.
The landlord or agent’s signature is not needed on the Claim for Refund form.
A tenant with a bond submitted to a Rental Bonds Online account, can submit a claim online. This will not release the bond immediately but will put a time limit on how long the landlord has to accept or dispute the claim.
The landlord or agent will be issued a ‘Notice of Claim’ by Fair Trading, giving them 14 days in which to contest or agree with the claim.
If the landlord or agent agrees with the claim, they can advise the NSW Rental Bonds either in writing, if the bond was originally lodged by the paper bond lodgement form, or they can log on to Rental Bonds Online and agree to the claim, if the bond was lodged online.
Your bond will then be refunded within two working days.
(For more information see Snug’s article “Getting your bond back”)
If the tenant paid the money directly to the landlord or real estate agent.
The tenant needs to submit a claim to refund the rental bond by filling out a ‘Claim for Refund of Bond Money’ form which can be accessed through the Fair Trading website. This claim can be made by either the tenant or the landlord or both together after the termination of the lease agreement.
If an agreement is reached between the landlord and tenant, an application to the RTA can be made to have the bond paid out. The RTA provides a free dispute resolution service.
The tenant or bond contributor must then make a ‘dispute resolution request’ within 14 days of notice being given.
If this process is unsuccessful, the tenant can then apply within 7 days of notice of the ending of the conciliation process, to the tribunal and notify the RTA of this action.
If the tenant and the landlord agree, a joint application to the Rental Tenancies Bond Authority can be made to have the bond paid out.
Once the tenant has left the rental property, if the tenant is unable to agree with the landlord about how the bond should be paid out, a tenant may apply to the Tribunal for a determination directing the Authority to pay out a part or whole of the bond.
A tenant needs to make an application to the Territory for release of the bond using the required form. If an application is lodged by the landlord or agent to have the bond paid out, the tenant will be notified by the Territory. The tenant has 2 weeks to reply by notification to the territory in writing with a ‘notice of dispute’. The dispute will then be dealt with by ACAT.
An application must be made to the Commissioner. This can be made may be made jointly by the landlord and the tenant or by either the landlord or the tenant. If the application is undisputed, the Commissioner must pay out the amount of the bond as specified in the application.
No application can be made before the residential tenancy agreement has ended.
After the final inspection of the property, there is a joint application for disposal of security bond that both people need to sign. If the form is lodged electronically, tenants will receive an email that will allow them to access the information and approve or change it online. The signed form then needs to be submitted to the bond administrator either physically or electronically.
If there is a dispute, a tenant can apply to the Magistrates Court using the Magistrate’s Court form’, ‘Application for disposal of bond money’ for a decision on how the funds should be allocated. The landlord will then be notified and can either: settle, dispute the application by lodging a ‘Notice of intention to dispute application for disposal of bond money’ within seven days or if no action is taken, the court may order for the release of the bond (after seven days).
Fill out a form to claim the disbursement of a security deposit to the Authority.
Either the tenant, owner or deposit contributor can make a claim. (see ‘What to do if a bond dispute arises?’ for the owner)
The tenant can only make a claim if the owner has given the tenant a claim form with their agreement or has failed to provide a form.
The Authority must take all reasonable steps to inform the owner, tenant and deposit contributor of the claim form who has not endorsed the agreement.
If no dispute is lodged in response to the tenant’s claim, the Authority will give to the owner any amount specified on the claim form from the security deposit and give the remainder (if any) to the tenants and deposit contributors.
A deposit contributor may lodge a claim form with the Authority if the contributor knows that the tenancy agreement has been terminated and neither the owner has lodged a claim nor the tenant within 10 days of receiving it from the owner.
The Authority must take all reasonable steps to inform the owner and tenant of receipt of the claim form.
If no dispute is lodged in response to the deposit contributor’s claim, the Authority will give to the owner any amount specified on the claim form from the security deposit and give the remainder (if any) to the tenants and deposit contributors.
If the owner, all tenants and all deposit contributors agree with the claim form and sign the form accordingly, any person can lodge the claim to the Authority. The Authority will then give the specified amounts to the owner and tenant or deposit contributor.
The owner has given the tenant a claim form outlining the amount of bond they want to have paid out to them as owner
If the tenant has not lodged that form with the Authority 10 days after they received the form (unless a longer period was prescribed).
The deposit contributor has not lodged a claim form with the Authority.
If part of the security deposit is to be paid out to the owner, the Authority will first take this out of the tenant’s portion and only if there is insufficient money in the tenant’s portion is it to be taken out of the deposit contributor’s portion.
If there is leftover money from the security deposit after the owner has been paid out, this will be distributed accordingly to the tenant and deposit contributor.
If the owner has been unable to give the claim form to any tenant after taking all reasonable steps to do so, and the deposit contributor has not lodged a claim form with the Authority, the Authority will refer the matter to the Commissioner.
After the tenant receives notice that the landlord is intending to retain some or all of the bond, or if the tenant has not received notice within 7 business days after the tenant gave up (or abandoned) the premises, the tenant may apply to the Tribunal for the return of some or all of the money paid as a security deposit. Even without notice being given within the required time, the tribunal can allow the landlord to retain some of the security deposit in certain circumstances.
Snug has taken every effort to ensure this content is accurate and up to date.
These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting renting. They do not cover all cases and might not apply to your specific rental property situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Legislation. Snug does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.