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 South Australia, Bonds or Security Deposits are referred to as ‘Rental Bonds’ and is administered by Consumer and Business Services (CBS).
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.
If the weekly rent is $250 or less, the maximum Rental Bond is the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.
Example: If the weekly rent is $200, then the maximum Rental Bond is $800
If the weekly rent is more than $250, the maximum Rental Bond is the equivalent of 6 weeks rent.
Example: If the weekly rent is $400, then the maximum Rental Bond is $2,400
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 can only be increased at least 2 years after the original bond was paid. Any further increases can only be made at least 2 years since the previous increase.
The landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days notice about the increase in the Rental Bond
If the rental bond does increase, it cannot exceed the relevant limit. The limit is calculated by reference to the weekly rent when the notice of increase is given.
Example: If the weekly rent has increased from $200 to $400 3 years after the original bond payment, the new maximum Rental Bond is $2,400
The tenant pays the Rental Bond to the landlord. The landlord must the lodge the Rental Bond with CBS along with a ‘Bond Lodgement’ form signed by all the tenants and the landlord.
A landlord has 2 weeks to lodge the Rental Bond with CBS. An agent has 4 weeks.
The landlord must also give the tenant a receipt within 48 hours of receiving the Rental Bond. The receipt must state:
Generally, Rental Bonds are paid by tenants as a lump sum payment. However, when the bond is paid in instalments, each amount received by the landlord must be lodged individually using the ‘Bond Lodgement’ form and within the same time periods as described above.
In South Australia, Condition Reports are known as ‘Inspection Sheets’. Inspection Sheets 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. Inspection Sheets are important in determining how the Rental Bond should be repaid at the end of the tenancy.
Read more about South Australian Inspection Sheets.
Where there are multiple co-tenants under the one agreement, all tenants are jointly responsible for the single Rental Bond. It is the responsibility of the co-tenants to exchange amounts and reimbursements between themselves to share the payment of the Rental Bond as they agree.
When there is a change in tenancy under a continuing agreement, the outgoing and incoming tenants must both sign the ‘Notification of Change of Tenant’ form and lodge it with CBS. This form releases the interest of the outgoing tenant in the Rental Bond to the new tenant.
This means that the new tenant takes over the old tenant’s interest in the Rental Bond. It is the responsibility of the outgoing and incoming tenant to exchange amounts between themselves to cover the interest in the Rental Bond.
At the end of the residential tenancy agreement, the Rental Bond should be refunded to either the tenant or the landlord, depending on whether the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement.
The ‘Bond Refund’ form must be used regardless of whether the tenant or landlord make the claim.
Joint and Uncontested Applications
CBS will refund the Rental Bond according to an application when it is not disputed. There are 3 types of uncontested application:
Any other type of application is called a ‘Disputed Application’ and includes:
Claims by Landlords
Although there is no restriction, landlords will commonly claim from the Rental Bond for:
How disputed applications are resolved
Whenever there is a disputed application, CBS must give a written notice to the party that did not make the application—e.g. if the landlord makes an application without the consent of the tenant for an amount to be paid to the landlord, then CBS must give the written notice to the tenant.
The party who receives the notice has 10 days to dispute the application. If the application is not disputed within 10 days, then CBS will pay the amount as requested in the application. To dispute an application, a tenant or landlord must complete and return to CBS the ‘dispute notice’ that is sent with the written notice.
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.