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 Queensland, Bonds and Security Deposits are referred to as ‘Rental Bonds’ and are managed by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).
A Rental Bond is the only form of security that a landlord can require or accept from a tenant.
Only one Rental 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.
The maximum amount that a landlord can require from a tenant as a Rental Bond is the equivalent to 4 weeks of rent.
Example: If the weekly rent is $400, the maximum Rental Bond is $1,600
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.
A landlord can require the tenant to increase the amount paid under a Rental Bond under the following circumstances:
The total amount paid for a Rental Bond can never exceed the maximum bond amount
Example: If the weekly rent increases from $400 to $500 18 months after the start of the tenancy, the landlord can only require the tenant to pay an amount that increases the total bond to $2,000 or less
Certain amounts paid in rent may be taken to be a Rental Bond when the rent payable decreases in the first 6 months of the tenancy. The amount taken to be a Rental Bond is any rent paid that exceeds the amount that would have been paid if the lowest rate of rent had been applied for the full 6 month period.
Example: If the original weekly rent was $500, but the rent is then decreased to $400 after 3 months, the $100 amounts paid in excess of $400 during the first 3 months of the tenancy are taken to be a Rental Bond
Once the tenant has paid a Rental Bond to the landlord, the landlord must lodge the amount with the RTA within 10 days of receiving the payment. The Rental Bond must be lodged with the ‘Bond Lodgement’ form signed by the tenant(s) and landlord.
RTA will send a receipt to the landlord and tenant to acknowledge the payment. If a tenant does not receive a receipt, then it is recommended that the tenant contact the RTA.
The landlord must give the tenant a receipt for the Rental Bond signed by the landlord when the Rental Bond is received. The landlord must retain a copy of the receipt for at least 12 months after the end of the tenancy agreement.
The receipt must state:
When a tenant continues to occupy the same premises under a new tenancy agreement with the same landlord after the end of the original tenancy agreement, then the Rental Bond transfers to the new agreement.
This only occurs when the RTA does not receive an application for payment of the original Rental Bond to any person.
Condition Reports record the general state of repair and condition of the property at the beginning and end of the tenancy. They must be completed by the landlord and tenant. Condition Reports are important in determining how the Rental Bond should be repaid at the end of the tenancy.
In Queensland, there are separate Entry and Exit Condition Reports. Both must be completed by the landlord and tenant.
Read more about Queensland Condition Reports.
When there are multiple co-tenants, each tenant contributes to the Rental Bond amount. The ‘Bond Lodgement’ form records the amount contributed by each co-tenant. If no amount is specified, RTA will assume an equal contribution from each person.
When there is a change of tenants in a shared tenancy arrangement, RTA should be informed by completing a ‘Change of Shared Bond Arrangement’ form. The form must be signed by the incoming tenant, the outgoing tenant, existing tenants and the landlord. The form can only be used where at least one original tenant remains in the premises.
It is the responsibility of the outgoing and incoming tenants to exchange amounts between themselves to reflect their contribution to the Rental Bond.
At the end of the tenancy, the Rental Bond may be repaid to the tenant or the landlord. The tenant will generally be repaid the Rental Bond in full if the terms of the agreement have not been breached and the landlord has not incurred any costs caused by the tenant.
The first step for any application is to complete and sign a ‘Refund of Rental Bond’ form. This form should be used regardless of whether the tenant and landlord agree about the refund.
Refund by Agreement—joint applications
When all the parties to a tenancy agreement agree about how the Rental Bond should be refunded, then the RTA must refund the bond as requested. To do this, the tenant(s) and landlord should jointly complete and sign the ‘Refund of Rental Bond’ form and lodge it with the RTA.
If the agreement has multiple co-tenants, but only some of those co-tenants make an application with the landlord, then the RTA will only make payments to those co-tenants not making the application. For any other payments, the other co-tenants need to notified first.
Applications by Tenants
If all the tenants under an agreement apply for a refund of the Rental Bond to be paid to the landlord, the RTA must make the payment.
When all tenants under an agreement apply for a refund of the Rental Bond to any tenant without the agreement of the landlord, the RTA will give notice to the landlord. The notice gives the landlord the opportunity to dispute the claim before the payment is made.
Applications by Landlord
If the landlord applies for a refund of the Rental Bond to all the tenants in the same proportions as their contribution to the bond, then the RTA must make the payment.
If the landlord applies for refund of the Rental Bond to be paid to themselves, then the RTA will give notice to all the tenants. The notice gives the tenants the opportunity to dispute the claim before the payment is made.
Although there is no restriction, landlords will commonly claim from the Rental Bond for:
Disputing Rental Bond refunds
Whenever an application is made by a tenant or landlord where the RTA must notify another party, the person being notified will receive a ‘Notice of Claim’ letter.
The person receiving the letter then has 14 days to dispute the claim by lodging a ‘Dispute Resolution Request’ form with the RTA. If this form is not received within the 14 days, RTA will pay the amount as requested.
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.
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.