Northern Territory Bonds

The maximum Bond that can be charged in the NT is the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent. The Bond must be held on trust for the tenant by the landlord in a secure bank account.

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 Northern Territory, ‘Bond’ and ‘Security Deposit’ refer to the same type of payment.

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 from a tenant 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.

Can the Bond be increased?

The landlord may require the tenant to pay an extra amount to increase the overall size of the Bond. Any request for an increase to the Bond must be at least 2 years after the Bond was originally paid or was last increased.

Even if the rent has increased, the total amount of the Bond paid may not exceed the equivalent of 4 weeks rent at the time of the increase.

Example: if the weekly rent increases from $400 to $500 after two and a half years of the tenancy, the landlord can charge an amount that makes the bond up to $2,000

The landlord should use the ‘Notice of Rent or Bond Increase’ form to notify the tenant of the increase.

Is a Condition Report required at the Beginning of Tenancy?

A landlord may complete a condition report at the beginning of the tenancy to record the state of the premises. It is good practice for landlords and tenants to cooperate in creating this report as it may assist in determining how the Bond should be repaid at the end of the tenancy.

The condition report must be completed within 3 days of the tenancy beginning, and generally the tenant must be present while the landlord conducts the inspection of the premises

The condition report must:

  • Specify the condition of the walls, floors and ceilings in each room,
  • State any goods leased with the premises, and
  • Be signed the landlord.

The tenant can agree with the report by signing it, or dispute it by modifying it before signing and returning it to the landlord. If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on a condition report, the Commissioner of Tenancies can perform a neutral report at the request of either party.

Read more about Northern Territory Condition Reports.

How is the Bond paid?

When a Bond is paid by the tenant to the landlord, the amount is held in trust by the landlord for the tenant. The landlord must pay the Bond into a bank account. The Bond remains in this account for the period of the tenancy.

Is a receipt required for the Bond?

The landlord must give the tenant a receipt for payment of the Bond, stating:

  • Date the amount was received,
  • Name of the tenant,
  • Amount paid, and
  • Address of the leased premises.

Can the tenant request the Account Details for Bond?

The tenant can request the landlord to give written details about the account, including:

  • Name of account,
  • Institution where the account is held,
  • Amount of Bond paid into the account, and
  • Day when Bond was paid into the account.

What happens when the tenancy is continued?

When one or more tenants under an original tenancy agreement continue to occupy the same premises under a second residential tenancy agreement, then the landlord cannot request or receive a further Bond for the second agreement. This does not apply if the tenant or landlord have applied for the Bond to be released.

Instead of charging a new Bond, the Bond from the original tenancy agreement is transferred to the second agreement.

Can the tenants on Bond be changed?

When there are multiple co-tenants under the one agreement, all co-tenants are jointly responsible for the single Bond. When paying the Bond, the co-tenants should specify to the landlord the amount contributed to the Bond by each co-tenant. If the amount contributed by each tenant is not specified, then it is assumed that all the co-tenants contributed equally to the Bond.

When there is a change in tenants, the outgoing, incoming and continuing tenants should notify the landlord that the incoming tenant is taking over the interest in the Bond held by the outgoing tenant.

Generally, the landlord continues to hold the Bond until the tenancy ends. It is the responsibility of the incoming and outgoing tenants to exchange reimbursements for the contribution to the Bond.

What happens to the Bond?

Condition Report at End of Tenancy
A landlord may complete another condition report within 3 days of the end of the tenancy. It is advisable for landlords and tenants to cooperate in creating this report as it assists in determining how the Bond should be repaid if the landlord makes a claim.

The condition report must:

  • Specify the condition of the walls, floors and ceilings in each room,
  • State any goods leased with the premises, and
  • Be signed the landlord.

The tenant can agree with the report by signing it, or dispute it by modifying it before signing and returning it to the landlord. If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on a condition report, the Commissioner of Tenancies can perform a neutral report at the request of either party.

Repayment of Bond to Tenant
The tenant is generally entitled to be repaid the full amount of the Bond unless there has been a breach of the residential tenancy agreement by the tenant, or the tenant has damaged the premises.

The landlord must refund the Bond within 7 days of the tenant giving up vacant possession or abandoning the premises.

If a tenant does not agree with a claim by the landlord from the Bond, or if the landlord fails to pay the Bond back within 7 days, then the tenant may apply to the Commissioner for refund of the Bond.

To apply for a refund, the tenant should use the ‘RT01: Application to the Commissioner of Tenancies’ form.

Claim for Bond by Landlord
The landlord may retain amounts of the Bond for:

  • Repairing damage to premises caused by the tenant (apart from fair wear and tear),
  • Replacing goods leased with the premises that are lost or destroyed by the tenant,
  • Cleaning the premises if left unreasonably dirty by the tenant,
  • Replacing locks that were altered by the tenant without the landlord’s consent,
  • Payment of rent in arrears or unpaid utility charges,
  • Losses suffered by the landlord caused by the tenant not giving up vacant possession in time, or
  • Any other amount ordered by the Court or the Commissioner.

A landlord cannot retain any amount for the first 3 costs unless a condition report was completed at the beginning and end of the tenancy.

To retain any amount of the Bond, the landlord must, within 7 days of the tenant giving up vacant possession or abandoning the premises:

If the tenant has abandoned the premises, the landlord may continue to hold on trust any amount that the landlord believes is necessary to cover rent due and the cost of finding replacement tenants. The landlord cannot claim for abandonment until the Commissioner makes an order.

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.

You might also be interested in

NT Condition Reports
NT Tenancy Agreements
NT Rental Payments
NT Holding Deposits


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.