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Standard fact sheet.

Making a bond claim 

Information for landlords


Property agents and self-managing landlords must be registered with Rental Bonds Online

From 30 January 2017, property agents and self-managing landlords must be registered with Rental Bonds Online (RBO), Fair Trading's easy and secure service to manage bonds online. Agents and landlords must also offer the service to new tenants as the first option for lodgement of their bond.

Information on registering as a user is available on the Taking a bond page on the Fair Trading website.

When the tenancy has ended and the tenant owes you money, you can make a claim against the tenant's bond.

Reasons for claiming

The main reasons a claim can be made against the bond are:

  • unpaid rent
  • the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the premises, beyond fair wear and tear
  • unpaid water usage charges, so long as you had requested payment within 3 months of receiving the bill
  • any 'break fee' or other charges payable as a result of the tenant breaking the tenancy agreement early
  • the reasonable cost of cleaning any part of the premises not left reasonably clean, having regard to how clean the premises were at the start of the tenancy
  • the reasonable cost of having the barrel of the locks changed or other security devices replaced, if the tenant has failed to return all keys and security devices they were given.

This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other legitimate reasons for making a claim against the tenant's bond, such as the cost of disposing of goods left behind by the tenant. The claim must relate to a breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant.

Fair wear and tear

Your tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear to the premises. Fair wear and tear means the deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even though the premises receive reasonable care and maintenance. Such deterioration could be caused by exposure, time or just by ordinary use. The tenant is only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

These examples may help to explain the difference.

Fair wear and tear


Faded curtains or frayed cords Missing curtains or torn by the tenant's cat
Furniture indentations and traffic marks on the carpet Stains or burn marks on the carpet
Scuffed wooden floors Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors
Faded, chipped or cracked paint Unapproved or poor quality paint job
Worn kitchen bench top Burns or cuts in bench top
Loose hinges or handles on doors or windows and worn sliding tracks Broken glass from one of the tenant's children hitting a ball through the window
Cracks in the walls from movement Holes in walls left by tenant removing picture hooks or shelves they had installed
Water stain on carpet from rain through leaking roof or bad plumbing Water stain on carpet caused by overflowing bath or indoor pot plants
Paint worn off wall near light switch damage to paint caused by removing posters stuck with blu tack or sticky tape

This means, for instance, you can lodge a claim against the bond for the cost of cleaning the carpet if it has been stained or left dirty. You should not lodge a claim if the carpet is clean and unstained, even if the carpet was new or professionally cleaned before the tenant moved in.

Claiming a bond using Rental Bonds Online

Claims for online bonds must be submitted through Rental Bonds Online (RBO). A landlord, agent or tenant can submit a claim for an online bond.

If you submit the claim first, the principal tenant will be sent a 14-day notice of claim by email and SMS. Co-tenants will receive copies of any notifications sent to the principal tenant, but they cannot log on to RBO or do any bond transactions.

The principal tenant can then log on to RBO and view the claim details. If the tenant agrees to the claim, they can log on to RBO and agree for the bond to be refunded.

The bond will then be deposited as per the agreed bond claim. All refund payments are made by direct deposit to bank accounts. It is important that bank account and contact details are kept up-to-date.

If the tenant does not agree with the claim, they are encouraged to discuss this with you. If an agreement cannot be reached, the tenant can opt to dispute the claim by applying to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) and notifying Fair Trading of the dispute during the 14-day notice period.

Tenant claiming a bond using Rental Bonds Online

If the tenant submits their claim online first, a notice of claim will be issued to you by email or email and SMS, with a 14-day notice period to respond. In RBO you may choose to:

  • agree to the refund or
  • tell us that you have lodged an application with the Tribunal, if you are disputing the claim or
  • take no action and the bond will be refunded to the tenant after the notice period expires.

If you and the tenant agree to a different deduction amount during the notice period, Fair Trading will process the new claim on receiving evidence (in RBO) that both you and the tenant have agreed to the new amount.

Claiming a bond using a Claim for Refund of Bond Money form

If you intend to make a claim for all or part of the bond, you will need to fill out a claim form and lodge it with Fair Trading. The form sets out the different ways it can be lodged. Alternatively, call Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

It is best if you can get the tenant to agree with your claim and sign the form as well. That way, the bond can be paid without delay. If this is not possible, you should lodge the form without the tenant's signature as soon as possible with Fair Trading and send evidence of the claim to the tenant.

Fair Trading will send a notice to the tenant giving them 14 days to either settle the matter with you or contest your claim by applying to the Tribunal. That is why it is important that the claim form includes the tenant's forwarding address (if known) or other contact details. If the tenant does not apply to the Tribunal, the bond will be paid out as per your claim. If they apply to the Tribunal, the bond will be held by Fair Trading until the dispute is settled. You will then need to attend a hearing at the Tribunal and present evidence to back up your claim.

If the tenant lodges a claim for a refund first without your signature, Fair Trading will send you a notice advising of the claim. You can either try to resolve it with the tenant or apply to the Tribunal within 14 days if you disagree. Make sure to notify Fair Trading that you have applied to the Tribunal, so that the bond can be held until after the hearing.

If you and the tenant reach a different agreement after one of you has lodged a claim, then a new claim form will need to be lodged with Fair Trading with both of your signatures. Otherwise, the first claim lodged will be paid out after 14 days.

Once the bond has been paid out, either you or the tenant can still apply to the Tribunal. There is a 6 month time limit to do this.

Providing evidence to the tenant

If you lodge a claim relating to the condition of the premises without the tenant's signature, you must send copies of the following to the tenant within 7 days:

  • the final condition report, and
  • estimates, quotes, invoices or receipts for the work.

Send the documents to their forwarding address (if known) or the rented premises address. Copies of these documents also need to be sent to Housing NSW if that Department paid all or part of the bond. Failure to provide these documents within the time period required can lead to penalties being imposed, if you do not have a reasonable excuse.

Note: Do not send these documents or anything else, except the claim form, to Fair Trading.

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