The maximum Bond that can be charged in the ACT is the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent. The Bond must be lodged with the Office of Rental Bonds (ORB).
This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?
In the ACT, ‘Bond’ and ‘Security Deposit’ refer to the same type of payment and are administered by the Office of Rental Bond (ORB)
A Bond is the only form of security that a landlord can require or accept from a tenant.
Only one Bond can be charged for a residential tenancy agreement, regardless of the number of tenants or changes in tenants. If there are multiple tenancy agreements for different parts of the one premises, then one Rental Bond can be charged for each of those agreements.
What is the maximum Bond?
The maximum Bond that a landlord can require is the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.
Example: If the weekly rent is $450, then the maximum Rental Bond is $1,800
In share accommodation it is common to charge 2 or 4 weeks rent and some landlords may choose to charge no Rental Bond.
There is no minimum Rental Bond amount and the landlord can choose not to charge a Rental Bond if they wish.
The Rental Bond cannot be increased under any circumstances, including rent increases or damage to the property.
What is a Condition Report?
When a Bond is paid, the landlord must provide the tenant with 2 copies of a condition report conducted on the premises.
The condition report must be given to the tenant before moving into the premises, and should:
- Detail the general condition of the premises,
- State any goods leased with the premises, and
- Be signed the landlord.
It is advisable that the tenant then conduct their own inspection of the premises to determine whether they agree with the description.
The tenant must return one of the copies to the landlord within 2 weeks. This copy must be signed by the tenant and include any additions or alterations by the tenant based on their own inspection.
Read more about ACT Condition Reports.
How is the Bond paid?
All of the Bond must be paid to ORB. The Bond must be accompanied by the ‘Bond Lodgement’ form signed by the landlord and all the tenants.
After receiving the Bond, ORB will send a notice to the party that did not lodge the Bond. If the tenant or landlord does not receive a notice within a few weeks, then they should contact ORB.
Tenant pays Bond to ORB
If the landlord and tenant agree, then the tenant may pay the Bond directly to ORB. The landlord may require the tenant to prove that the Bond has been paid before giving access to the premises to the tenant. Proof is usually given by showing the receipt of payment from ORB.
Landlord pays Bond to ORB
The tenant may also pay the Bond to the landlord. The landlord must then deposit the Bond with ORB within 2 weeks of receiving the Bond or when the tenancy begins, which ever occurs later.
Landlord’s Agent pays Bond to ORB
The tenant may also pay the Bond to an agent. The agent must then deposit the Bond with ORB within 4 weeks of receiving the Bond or when the tenancy begins, which ever occurs later.
What happens when the tenancy is continued?
When one or more tenants under an original tenancy agreement continue to occupy a premises under a second residential tenancy agreement, then the landlord cannot request or receive a further Bond under that second agreement. This does not apply if the tenant or landlord have applied for the Bond to be released.
The ‘Transfer of Tenants’ form should be used to transfer the Bond from the original to the second tenancy agreement. The form should be signed by all the tenants and the landlord.
Can the tenants on a Bond be changed?
When there are multiple co-tenants under the one agreement, all tenants are jointly responsible for the single Bond. It is the responsibility of the co-tenants to exchange amounts and reimbursements between themselves to share the payment of the Bond.
When there is a change in tenancy, the outgoing, incoming and continuing tenants as well the landlord must all complete the ‘Transfer of Tenants’ form. Once the form is accepted by ORB, the incoming tenant will become entitled to a share of the Bond
The outgoing tenant should arrange reimbursement of their contribution to the Bond from the incoming tenant. This payment should occur before the outgoing tenant signs the ‘Transfer of Tenants’ form.
What happens to the Bond?
At the end of the residential tenancy agreement, the Bond should be refunded to either the tenant or the landlord, depending on whether the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement.
The ‘Refund of Bond’ form should be used regardless of who is making the claim.
Unless otherwise requested, when there are multiple co-tenants, ORB will refund the Bond in equal parts to all the tenants listed on the ‘Refund of Bond’ form.
Agreed or Joint Claims
When the landlord and all the tenants agree on how the Bond should be paid out, ORB will pay out the Bond as requested. The parties should all jointly complete and sign the ‘Refund of Bond’ form.
Claims by Tenants
A tenant can make a claim without the consent of the landlord. When ORB receives a claim form from a tenant, it will send a notice to the landlord and any other tenants who did not make a claim.
The landlord or other tenants have 2 weeks from receiving the notice to dispute the claim in writing. If no dispute is made, then ORB will pay out the Bond as requested in the application.
Claims by Landlords
A landlord can make a claim without the consent of the tenant. When ORB receives a claim form, it will send a notice to the tenants.
The tenants have 2 weeks from receiving the notice to dispute the claim. A claim is disputed by notifying ORB in writing of an intention to dispute the landlord’s claim. If no dispute is lodged in time, then ORB will pay out the Bond as requested in the claim.
Under ACT law, the landlord may claim for:
- Repairs—costs to repair the premises or goods caused by the tenant,
- Rent in arrears—any rent owing under the agreement when it terminates,
- Replacement of fuel—cost of replacing any fuel (e.g. gas or wood) supplied by the landlord,
- Legal fees—reasonable legal fees for costs in assigning the rights of a tenant, or
- ACAT finding—anything else ACAT sees as appropriate.
Transferring money safely
When paying your deposit, bond or rent by cash make sure you get a receipt. With modern phones this can be as simple as an SMS or email confirming the amount, date and what it is for. Keep a copy of this incase you need it later.
Never ever transfer money to a bank account outside of Australia or use a untraceable money transfer system such as WESTERN UNION. If anyone asks you to do this on any website it is likely to be a scam and you are almost guaranteed to lose your money.
If this ever happens on Flatmates.com.au report the member immediately so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.
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These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.