Renting Bytes!


May 12, 2023 Tenants' Union of NSW
Renting Bytes!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We chat with Grace Crowley-Shaw, Tenant Advocate at the Eastern Area Tenants' Service about Bond. Grace explains the purpose of bond, gives us some tips on getting your bond back and what you can do if the landlord makes a claim against your bond.

[Trigger warning: mention of domestic violence at 31:56]

Tenants' Union factsheets & resources:

Eastern Area Tenants' Service resources:

Redfern Legal Centre resources:

Bond podcast


[00:00:00] Grace: (Soundbite) 'The starting position is that it is your money and it's on the landlord to prove why they're entitled to it.' 

[00:00:05] Olivia: Welcome to Renting Bytes, a podcast where we break down tenancy law into byte-sized pieces. I'm Olivia Nielsen Gurung and I'm joined by my co-host, Charlie Wilde. 

[00:00:14] Charlie: Hi, thanks for joining us. We're recording from Gadigal and Darkinjung Country today. And we pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.

[00:00:25] Olivia: So we thought it was time to talk about the dreaded bond... 

[00:00:29] Charlie: That's right, at the Tenants' Union we're asked questions about bond all the time. Probably because there's a lot of confusion about what happens with bond at the end of a tenancy or the process of how bond is paid out. 

[00:00:43] Olivia: So we're hoping to clear up some of that confusion, but we're also trying to help you get your bond back. We want to share some tips on how you can best do that.

[00:00:53] Charlie: And to do that, we're joined by a really special guest, Grace Crowley-Shaw from the Eastern Area Tenants [00:01:00] Advice and Advocacy Service. Welcome, Grace. 

[00:01:03] Grace: Hello. 

[00:01:04] Olivia: Hi Grace. Thanks so much for your time. So let's start off with a big one. What do you think the biggest misconception about Bond is in general? 

[00:01:16] Grace: I would say that the biggest misconception we see is that the real estate agent decides what happens with the bond. You can claim your bond yourself without waiting for the real estate agent to kind of decide how they want it to be divvied up. But also just because they say that something needs to be done or that, you know, there's this repair or how much something is, they're not an impartial third party that makes decisions. They're acting as an agent of the landlord and they're acting in the landlord's best interest. 

[00:01:43] Olivia: So there's a separate process. The process isn't decided by a real estate agent or a landlord. 

[00:01:51] Grace: Yeah. So I know that a lot of people often just wait and say, you know, the, the agent hasn't made a decision about paying out my bond yet or anything. You don't need to wait for [00:02:00] them to do it. You can initiate and get that process started yourself. 

[00:02:03] Olivia: Yeah. That's a great, a great tip. So speaking of tips, if there's one tip that you could give a tenant about Bond or if there's one thing that you could tell a tenant about Bond, what would it be?

[00:02:19] Grace: I guess it's probably really obvious, but just take so many photos and videos, both when moving in and moving out. I think something that real estate agents kind of fail to engage with a lot is that your bond's determined about how the property is at the end of the tenancy compared to at the start of the tenancy. It's really only compared to how it was when moving in, both in terms of cleanliness and repairs. So just making really sure that you have a lot of evidence when moving in. I mean, I know I'm guilty of not doing this myself in the excitement of moving into a new place and setting everything up and, you know, moving the stuff yourself. I've definitely been guilty of not taking as many photos [00:03:00] as I wished I had. But yeah, really taking that time before you've moved your furniture in, as soon as you get the keys go through, do the condition report and just take so, so many photos. You'll be glad you do it at the end of the tenancy when there's a dispute about whether that small mark was there on the kitchen counter on top or not. Even if you're doing an ongoing inspection with the agent, I would also just take a lot of photos yourself. We see a lot that agents and sometimes focus in on certain things when they're taking their own photos. Like really zooming in or something and making an issue a lot worse than it is. So even if you have a great relationship with your agent and are doing the outgoing inspection together, I would still just make sure you take that time to go through and get all your own photos.

[00:03:44] Charlie: Thanks. I was chatting about Bond with a few people, I spoke to a friend and she told me that she didn't even know what Bond was before she came to this country. So maybe before we get too [00:04:00] into this conversation, can you explain really briefly what Bond is?

[00:04:06] Grace: Bond is essentially just security held by the landlord for anything that may happen throughout or at the end of the tenancy. The legal presumption is that the bond is the tenant's money it's just being held in trust. It should be held with the bond board, in ideal cases, it's not held by the agent or landlord, it's held by an impartial third party. 

[00:04:27] Olivia: So when the bond is paid by the tenant it's then held in trust by the rental bonds board under the Office of Fair Trading. 

[00:04:37] Grace: Yeah. The starting position is that it is your money and it's on the landlord to prove why they're entitled to it. Most of the time they're lodged online now, so sometimes you may pay your bond to the agent at the same time as paying rent and advance and they can lodge it with the bond board themselves. And then you should recieve a receipt, like a advice of lodgement. It's becoming more [00:05:00] common now to pay them directly to the Bond Board. Your agent can provide like the number to log in and you can pay it directly with rental bonds online. So should end up in the same place. But either way is, is valid. 

[00:05:17] Charlie: Sometimes we hear about landlords or real estate agents not lodging that bond money. 

[00:05:23] Grace: Yeah. So, it is a breach of the legislation to not do that. There are potential penalties, and anytime throughout the tenancy you can ask the tribunal if necessary for an order that they lodge the bond. However, even if it's not lodged with a bond board, you still have the exact same rights in relation to it. Like the presumption is still that it is the tenant's money. There are still ways of dealing with disputes about bond at the end of the tenancy regardless of whether or not it's held by the bond board. So you do still have those exact same legal rights in relation to it.

[00:05:57] Charlie: How could a tenant check if their [00:06:00] bond has been properly lodged? 

[00:06:02] Grace: So generally should have received something from the landlord agent, like an advice of lodgment or an email from rental bonds online. Otherwise, you can just call Fair Trading, their number is 133220 and give your name and address. And they can just tell you, whether there's a bond lodged there or not. Even at the end of the tenancy, you can ask them about the bond, you know, asking whether the landlords made a claim on it or anything. I think it's also more common now for people to have rental bond online accounts that you can log into and check. 

[00:06:34] Olivia: It seems like lodging it online yourself is the way to go if you can. Or to follow up with rental bonds that it has been lodged by the landlord. 

[00:06:48] Grace: The Residential Tenancies Act does say that the landlord or agent has to invite the tenant to use the online service to deposit the bond, and that they need to be given a reasonable opportunity to do so. Obviously that's [00:07:00] not gonna be appropriate for all people. Like, you know, people are not as technologically savvy. So it's not, that's not the only way the bond could be lodged, but they do need to invite the tenant to use the online service. You do need to be invited by the agent and the link does expire after a certain period of time. So if the agents telling you they've sent you something, maybe check spam. If the link expires, Fair Trading can't do anything, the agent needs to resend an invite from their account.

[00:07:29] Charlie: Wow. 

[00:07:29] Olivia: So that's a great tip that when you are waiting for an invite to be able to lodge your bond online, anecdotally we've heard that it can go into spam. So we've talked about what bond is, how it's lodged, generally speaking, both landlords and tenants have responsibilities when it comes to bond, but what specifically would you say tenants responsibilities [00:08:00] are? 

[00:08:01] Grace: In terms of a tenant's responsibility, throughout the tenancy they do have to maintain it in a reasonable state of cleanliness as compared to when they moved in. And that applies when they're leaving the tenancy as well. Obviously your landlord or agent can't require you to provide the property back in the exact same state as when you moved in, but it needs to be as close as possible to the original state, minus fair wear and tear.

[00:08:25] Charlie: So what if a repair was reported, but just not acted on by the landlord? 

[00:08:31] Grace: If there's a repair that you've reported throughout the tenancy and the landlord just hasn't actioned that then obviously that's gonna be beyond fair wear and tear. It's not your responsibility if the change to the property is a result of the landlord's failure to repair rather than any intentional, negligent damage by the tenant.

[00:08:51] Charlie: Okay. So if I can just pick up on that first point you mentioned about maintaining the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness. When I [00:09:00] moved out of my last place, the real estate agent gave me a letter with a really long list of things I had to do, like scrubbing the skirting boards, cleaning around the light fittings... It seemed maybe a little bit unreasonable to have that expectation that I present the apartment back in an immaculate condition when I received it in an unclean state. It just seems that we're being asked to scrub our houses to within an inch of their life. But what's the actual level of cleaning that tenants should be expected to carry out? 

[00:09:37] Grace: So again, there's only a reasonable standard of cleanliness and it will directly relate to how you've received the property. We do see a lot that tenants will receive the property, say it's disgusting when they moved in, you know, the oven's filthy, there's grease in the extract fan, and then the agent or landlord will expect a professional clean [00:10:00] when they move out. So that's not required. Is just providing it back in a reasonable standard of cleanliness. And a direct comparison to that is the state of the property when you moved in. I think that's another reason that you really wanna have heaps of photos. As well as showing the state of repair of the property, they're really useful to be able to show how clean the property was when you moved in. A lot of agents do send through these really long lists. The only thing I would say that is useful about them is it does give you a bit of a guideline of what you know they're gonna be looking at. I know I've seen agents that, you know, point out stuff about the top of the like fridge area or something. It doesn't mean that what they're requesting from you is valid, but it is a helpful way to kind of see in advance and what the kind of stuff they're gonna be looking at is. Also, if you do get a professional cleaner, and again, you really don't have to, that's not an obligation, but I know for some people it is just they would prefer to [00:11:00] pay for that, then physically have to clean the house themselves. I mean, I've spent days before in houses, like two days scrubbing walls and everything. I think probably next time I might use a cleaner just so I don't have to do that again. But it can be really useful to provide them with those lists because again, you really know what the landlord is looking for and what kind of things they're gonna be picking up on. Doesn't mean they're valid, but it can just be a good thing to have in mind. 

[00:11:28] Charlie: Here's one that comes up a lot. Carpets. Do carpets have to be professionally cleaned when you move out?

[00:11:35] Grace: In relation to carpets, a lot of landlords will say that the carpets need to be professionally steam cleaned. They can only include that as a term of the agreement if they've allowed you to keep a pet in the property. It can't be an automatic plan. 

[00:11:49] Olivia: I feel like carpet is one of those end of tenancy questions that lots of tenants have, and I feel like there's a bit of a misnomer [00:12:00] about having to professionally clean carpet, even if you don't have a pet. 

[00:12:05] Grace: Yeah. So they can't make it a blanket term that you have to do it unless they've allowed you to keep a pet. It doesn't mean that it's never gonna be appropriate to steam clean the carpet, if the carpet is particularly dirty after your tenancy. There are cases that, providing it back in the same state minus fair wear and tear will require a steam clean. So it's not something that never has to be done, but it can't be included as a blanket term unless they have allowed you to get a pet. On a similar note, a lot of the time when they do require you to get the carpet cleaned because you've had a pet, they'll also say that you need to get pest treatment or fumigation. That's not a valid term. The only additional term that you can include because of the pet is the carpet cleaning. In terms of pest treatment, they can only require it from you if they can show that it's actually necessary.

[00:12:56] Charlie: So we've talked about the cleaning side of things a little bit. [00:13:00] Now I want to talk about the damage side of things. How does a tenant know when something's fair wear and tear or when it's damage that might be potentially taken out of their bond? 

[00:13:13] Grace: Look, I think 

[00:13:14] Olivia: The million dollar question. What is fair wear and tear Grace?

[00:13:18] Grace: Wish I knew I would be a millionaire if I could determine that. It is a really tricky line of what is fair wear and tear, and what crosses into becoming intentional, negligent damage. Ultimately the only person that can decide what fair wear and tear is as opposed to damage is the Tribunal. As a guideline, I would say that fair wear and tear is the kind of things that happen to a house just through general use of the property. You know, small scuff marks on the floor and everything like that. Whereas, you know, if you drop a pot on your kitchen bench and it has a massive chip out of it, even if it's not intentional, like it's probably gonna be beyond fair wear and tear. But that also [00:14:00] can depend on things like what kind of material is the bench made out of? If it's like a brittle plastic, it might be more likely that a chip or something to it is fair wear and tear, where it is always just gonna chip from people using it normally. But I guess it is only up to the tribunal to make the final decision. But if it is just those marks that you would expect from someone living in the house as a house doing exactly what you would expect it's likely that it's fair wear tear.

[00:14:31] Charlie: So say in one of those situations of damage where it is a bit more clear cut. Should a tenant be given the opportunity to fix that damage, like provide their own quotes, that kind of thing? Or does it just go through to the keeper in terms of the real estate agent then decides, okay, I'm gonna get the quotes to fix this damage.

[00:14:53] Grace: I mean, there isn't an argument they should be allowing the tenant to remedy the damage. They don't have [00:15:00] to though. Once the tenant has handed back the keys to the property, there's no legal requirement that the agent or landlord has to let them back into the property to rectify the damage themselves or have their preferred trades people do it. Once you've handed back possession, it's the landlord's property again. There's an argument that if it is, especially something quite simple like there's some cleaning that probably needs to be done, that if they hire their own cleaner, as opposed to letting you come in and wipe down, spend 20 minutes inside the house, that there's a failure to mitigate. A landlord has to try and minimize any losses that they suffer. So if they kind of go and get in this big professional, to like change a light bulb or something, instead of just letting you do it, there can be a failure of them to mitigate their losses, which can affect any claims they have in the Tribunal. But if it is something where you know that you've damaged [00:16:00] the property, you know it's gonna have to be fixed, I would recommend that people try and get their own trades people to come and do that before they leave the property. 

[00:16:09] Charlie: So in the scenario that a tenant doesn't get time to fix that damage themselves. And then the landlord has to get a quote to fix the damage. Does the former tenant have accept the quote of the landlord, even if it seems excessive? 

[00:16:27] Grace: It doesn't mean the landlord can charge whatever they want for repairs. Even if you don't have your person fixing it, if it does go through to the tribunal, you can always provide alternative quotes. Even if that's just, you know, getting a few quotes from tradies, how much would it cost to paint a one centimeter patch on the wall and provide them as counter evidence. Again, the landlord needs to provide their evidence first of how much it did cost. But you can always provide counter quotes if you think they're charging too much for the cost of [00:17:00] something, even if it legitimately does need to be repaired.

[00:17:03] Olivia: So you've cleaned the house to a reasonable standard, you've moved out. What's the first step in getting your bond back for a tenant? 

[00:17:11] Grace: If you and the agent have done an outgoing inspection together and you're both there, you both agree on how the bond is gonna be decided. You can agree to that on the spot and both parties just work out how the bond is to be returned. Otherwise, you can just log in. If you've got a rental bond online account from, hopefully when you lodged your bond at the start of the tenancy, you should be able to just log online there and start the bond refund process. So you can just claim the amount yourself. And then...

[00:17:41] Olivia: the real estate agent doesn't have to invite you to do that. You don't need kind of consent from the landlord or the real estate agent. No. You can just do that unilaterally. 

[00:17:55] Charlie: Yeah. And for those of us that aren't familiar with the term, 'unilaterally' [00:18:00] just means by yourself or just one party making the claim without necessarily having the agreement of the other party. 

[00:18:07] Grace: Yeah. Regardless of whether you've got an online account or not, you can always claim the bond unilaterally. The process would just be slightly different. It is a bit easier if you do have that login and just can log into rental bonds online. Otherwise, you can just send off the form yourself to Fair Trading. If you just Google 'Return of Bond New South Wales', the first result's just gonna be a pdf. That at the bottom tells you where to email it off to. You can just fill that in yourself, leave the section about the landlord signature blank. And then once you've made a claim, the agent or landlord will get notification and they'll have 14 days to dispute that if they don't agree with the way that you've proposed the to be paid out. And they do that by applying to the tribunal.

[00:18:51] Charlie: What if the landlord gets in first and puts a claim in before you get a chance? 

[00:18:56] Grace: The same thing happens in reverse as well. You know, you're not always gonna [00:19:00] be the first person to claim the bond. You could also get a notification that they've unilaterally claimed the bond. The only thing that changes then is that it is then you, that applies to the tribunal if you want to dispute it. There is the $54 fee, I think, for doing so, which is honestly the main difference. Doesn't change any proceedings. Who claimed at first or anything. The landlord is always the one that has to prove why they're entitled to the bond. The real difference with who claims it first is essentially who needs to pay that $54 fee.

[00:19:31] Olivia: And so then the process moves from the rental bonds board under the Office of Fair Trading to the tribunal, the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which is the jurisdiction that deals with complaints between tenants and landlords. 

[00:19:52] Grace: If there is a dispute, you know, a dispute lodged about the bond, then the bond will be frozen. It won't be [00:20:00] released to either party and then the matter does go through the tribunal. 

[00:20:04] Olivia: So say, the tenant or the landlord has made an NCAT application, for the tribunal to make a decision about how the bond is paid out. Is that process always a formal and long process? What are the steps that a tenant will need to go through?

[00:20:22] Grace: Yeah, so once someone has lodged a tribunal application, both parties will receive a notice of hearing. So the first hearing is what there's called a conciliation and group list. That's when there's multiple different parties who are listed in the same room at the same time. Essentially the main purpose is to see whether they can come to an agreement. So generally the tribunal member, where both parties are present will ask people to go out into one of the conciliation rooms or to a separate area and see if they can come to an agreement. That process of seeing if they can come to an agreement doesn't involve the tribunal making a decision [00:21:00] about it or necessarily anyone agreeing on who is right and wrong. It's the tribunal essentially asking whether the parties can come to an agreement of how the bond is gonna be divided between them just to resolve the issue. And if the parties can come to an agreement about that, the tribunal can make orders on the day so they can turn that agreement into consent orders and they can just direct the bond board how they're gonna pay out that bond. And so it can be resolved quite quickly. Anecdotally, a lot of bond claims are determined at that group list stage. I would say in my experience, they're the most likely type of claim to resolve, during a conciliation.

[00:21:42] Charlie: So if the parties can't reach an agreement, what happens then? 

[00:21:46] Grace: If you don't come to an agreement, the tribunal is very unlikely to determine on the day, which is not the case with all types of matters. Generally the tribunal would then adjourn it and ask for the parties [00:22:00] to provide evidence. So regardless of who lodged the bond claim, the landlord always has to put their evidence on first, because legally, as we said, the presumption is that the bond is the tenant's money. It's just being held as security. So it's always the landlord's job to put on their evidence first. Cause they have the burden of proving why they're entitled to any of the bond money and why it shouldn't just be returned to the tenant. And then the tenant will get an opportunity to put on essentially counter evidence, so they'll get it to respond to the Landlord's evidence about why they disagree with the landlord's claims. And so that can be things about like comparative quotes, evidence of depreciation. Obviously the most important thing here is gonna be those photos that we talked about earlier, showing the state of the property when he moved in and then when he moved out. There is a number of things that tenants can include in their documents to counter the landlord's claims. 

[00:22:55] Charlie: Do you think tenants should be getting legal representation for this [00:23:00] process? 

[00:23:00] Grace: The tribunal is designed for people to be self-represented. You actually need a special type of leave to be represented by a lawyer, but I would recommend if people call their local tenancy service or Fair Trading and get advice if they think that they need that.

[00:23:16] Charlie: I should flag that there's a Renting Bytes episode on NCAT called 'NCAT: Your questions answered.' And it goes into detail on how to prepare for a matter at NCAT. 

[00:23:27] Grace: Tenants should be able to represent themselves. In a lot of cases landlords will have an agent representing them, but there's less legal complexity than some of like, you know, serious terminations. It is about, you know, how the property was returned as compared to how it was when you entered. And the tribunal members are really, really used to making these kinds of decisions. If you do think you need, some help or advice with it, you can always try calling your local tenancy service, which you can get their details off the website or the TU hotline or there's Fair [00:24:00] Trading which again is that 133 220 number. 

[00:24:04] Charlie: Thanks Grace. Yes, that website is You can go to the bottom of the home page, enter your post code and find your local Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service. Or just click the, 'get advice' tab if that's easier. You can also contact the Tenants' Advice Line on 1800 251 101. That operates on Mondays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and Thursdays from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Is there anywhere else tenants can go for advice? 

[00:24:39] Grace: In some tribunal registries when you go to the first hearing, there is sometimes a conciliator who won't be able to give you advice but might be able to help with the agreement process. There's also a lot of resources online, so the Tenants' Union has a lot of fact sheets. Our service, which is [00:25:00] also has a number of fact sheets about specific types of bond claims. Like, you know, there's one on carpets, one on walls, one on wooden flooring, which does have some more specific information about depreciation and what's previously been considered fair wear and tear. 

[00:25:18] Olivia: I refer people to those fact sheets all the time. Grace, they're really good. They're perfect for bond. 

[00:25:23] Grace: So you can always have a look online for those things. But again, there's always people you can contact if you do have further questions. 

[00:25:29] Charlie: We'll include the links to the resources you mentioned in the show notes. 

[00:25:33] Olivia: So we've mentioned depreciation a few times. Can you just briefly run us through what depreciation is and how the tribunal applies it? 

[00:25:44] Grace: There's a number of ways that tenants can kind of respond to bond claims. Where the landlord has said that they owe money, one of the most important ones is depreciation. Essentially it is just that things depreciate in value over time. So that's the idea that even if you are [00:26:00] responsible for damage to the property, that the landlord shouldn't be able to just claim the full amount from you. So even if you have spilled something on the carpet that can't come out and it's beyond fair wear and tear, you know, you spilled a candle or a glass of wine on there, that they can't just make you pay for the full replacement of that carpet because they have got some of the valuable lifespan out of that.

The ATO (Australian Tax Office) says that landlords would be expected to replace certain parts of the house every so often and they have a list of expected timeframes. So even if you do cause damage, like in the case of a carpet, the valuable lifespan of a carpet is 10 years. So if your landlord replaced the carpet five years ago and you, even if you've completely ruined it, you should only pay for half the cost. Cause they've got half the valuable lifespan out of that item. They would've had to replace it in five years anyway. So, you know, they should only be able to get half the cost of replacing [00:27:00] it from you and you can ask the tribunal to take that into account. The ATO does have information about what the valuable lifespan of those items are. 

[00:27:11] Olivia: So it's that old adage, you can't be required to replace something old with something new. 

[00:27:19] Grace: Yeah. The landlord can't claim new for old.

[00:27:21] Olivia: Actually, the ATO depreciation scale is crazy. Landlords get tax offsets as well. Like, essentially they're double dipping if they're charging a tenant to replace something that they've actually been getting tax offsets for and the value of rent for that whole time anyway.

[00:27:36] Charlie: So you spill some wine on the carpet, comes time, you're moving out. There's the stain. The real estate agent or the landlord can't then say, well you have to pay to replace the carpet. They have to use the depreciation scale to take into effect how much of that asset they've actually had the benefit from.

[00:27:55] Grace: Yeah, and I mean along with that, there are other things of, um, looking [00:28:00] into whether there is some other work that could be done rather than replacing the whole carpet such as steam cleaning, in most cases tenants will have really tried their best themselves to get that mark out. So I'm assuming in these cases it's not something that a really good clean could help with. But especially depending on the area of the stain, you know, if it's in a corner, it may be appropriate for the carpet to be patched instead of the whole carpet being replaced. That's gonna be probably less likely if it's in the middle of the room and it's gonna be really obvious, but it will just depend on the circumstances. So they should be looking at whether there is something else they could do rather than replacing the whole carpet as well as if they do have to replace the whole carpet, um, take depreciation into account. 

[00:28:44] Charlie: But if the carpet's 11 years old, arguably the tenant shouldn't be paying. 

[00:28:48] Grace: Yes. Then you shouldn't have to pay anything for it because the landlord's got the valuable lifespan out of that. If that carpet's only meant to last an expected 10 years, it's done its job. And [00:29:00] as part of the landlord having a property that they're using to rent out to someone, they'll need to bear the cost of a new carpet because they've got the value out of their previous carpet. 

[00:29:11] Olivia: It's essentially worthless. The carpet is worthless in a bond sense. 

[00:29:16] Grace: Yes.

[00:29:17] Charlie: So we've been talking about fairly standard residential tenancies. Maybe if we shift now to some special circumstances. One of those circumstances I wanted to talk about was if a tenant has been living in a share house. If you have been living in a share house, how would the process of getting your bond back be different?

[00:29:43] Grace: It would really depend on who you're renting from. So there's two main examples. One would be if you are a co-tenant with someone else, you are both named on a lease. Or the other one will be if you're a subtenant, so you are renting from someone who is on the lease, but you don't have a [00:30:00] lease with the owner, you would generally have a lease or an agreement with the person that you are renting from who generally lives in the house as well. So if it's a co-tenant situation and the bond is in both your names with the bond board, generally the agent would start the process online of changing the names of it, but in terms of the bond, you can make a written request to your former co-tenant if they're still living in the property, that they pay out your portion of the bond. So say you guys split the bond, you'd make a written request that they pay you your half. If they don't do that within 14 days of the letter, you can go to the tribunal and ask for an order. They have to do that. Hopefully it's not necessary. But that's always a possibility if they don't refund your portion of the bond.

[00:30:47] Charlie: I'm assuming if you were a subtenant in a house where the head tenant hadn't actually lodged your bond, you could fill in paper form and get your bond back. 

[00:30:57] Grace: Yeah, so it would be, technically it is asking for an order under a different [00:31:00] section, but it's primarily the same. We would always recommend that someone make a written request and give the head tenant a date. You don't technically have that requirement of making that formal request to the head tenant, where you are renting from a person that lives in the property. But we would always recommend that you do kind of give them a date that they need to pay it by and tell them that you will be going to the tribunal if they don't.

But after that, the process is essentially the same. You can apply to the tribunal either on a paper for more online and when it comes to a head tenant once you get to the tribunal. That presumption that we were saying about landlords and tenants applies straight away. So it's your money if you make the application against the head tenant, they then need to prove why they'd be entitled to keep any of it.

I also just wanted to say that different rules do apply with co tenants and everything if there are circumstances of domestic violence and there's [00:32:00] AVOs and stuff. If that is the case, then again, I would really recommend that you speak to your local tenancy service, because there is different rules that apply, you know, especially around making that request to a co tenant. That may not apply if there is an AVO in force. So definitely speak to your local service or Women's Legal Service if you are in those circumstances.

[00:32:22] Charlie: Look, I'm really, I'm really glad that you brought up that situation because it's a real situation a lot of people are facing. 

[00:32:31] Grace: If that is the situation you're in, I really recommend getting advice anyway. There can be different rules about liability for damage that does occur in the commission of DV offenses that can really impact on bond claims. So yeah, strongly advise that you try and get advice from, you know, a women's legal center or your local tenancy service about that. 

[00:32:52] Charlie: We'll also include some links in the description to some resources that might help if you're trying to get your bond back after leaving [00:33:00] a domestic violence situation. As Grace mentioned, it can be a little bit more complex, but there are services that are there to help support you through that process. We'll also include some information on getting your bond back generally. As well as resources to help you navigate a bond dispute. We've also got a link to our other Renting Bites episode on NCAT called 'NCAT: Your Questions Answered', which helps you go through how to prepare for an NCAT matter, what to expect at NCAT, and just providing a few tips on what to do.

Grace, thank you so much for joining us today. I know you're a very busy person. So really, really appreciate your time. Did you have any concluding thoughts that you'd really love to drive home to anyone out there listening? 

[00:33:55] Grace: I think it would be really just it's not the real estate agent that determines what happens with your [00:34:00] bond. You do have power over it as well. 

[00:34:04] Charlie: So there you have it.. You've been listening to the latest episode of Renting Bytes on bond. Hopefully you were able to get something out of it. If you have any suggestions or things you'd like us to talk about in a podcast, please let us know. And until then, thank you so much Grace you have been incredible and super informative. 

[00:34:29] Grace: Awesome. Thanks guys. No worries. 

[00:34:31] Olivia: Thanks Grace. 


Who decides whether you can get your bond back?
How can I prove what the place was like at the start of my tenancy?
What is bond for?
How can I tell if my bond has been properly lodged?
Why it's a good idea to lodge your bond online
What are my responsibilities in relation to getting my bond back?
Am I responsible for repairs I've reported?
How much do I need to clean at the end of the tenancy?
Do I need to get the carpet professionally cleaned?
What cleaning do I need to do if I've had a pet at the property?
What's the difference between damage and fair wear & tear?
What can I do if there has been damage done?
Do I just have to accept the landlord's quote to fix the damage?
What is the process for getting my bond back with the landlord's agreement?
How can I claim my bond back without the landlord's agreement?
How can I dispute the landlord's bond claim?
What happens at a dispute in the Tribunal?
Where can tenants go for advice?
What is depreciation and how could it be relevant in a bond dispute?
How can I get my bond back if I've been living in a shared house?
Are there special rules if there has been domestic violence in the household?
Where can I find more information on bond?