Before you leave and hand back the keys, you should contact the agent or landlord to arrange a mutually agreeable time to do the final inspection. This is where you both go over the property to see if there is any damage or anything that needs cleaning.
If the agent or landlord raises something that is minor, you may be able to deal with it on the spot. The official condition report needs to be completed at this inspection. If you do not owe the landlord or agent money at the end of your tenancy, the bond that you paid at the beginning of your tenancy should be refunded to you in full. If the landlord or agent believes you owe them money, they are able to make a claim against your bond.
The main reasons a claim may be lodged against your bond are:
- if you still owe any rent or have unpaid water usage bills
- if you broke the lease early and have not paid the break fee or other compensation payable
- if you didn't hand back all the copies of the keys you were given and the locks needed to be changed
- if you caused damage or did not leave the premises in a reasonably clean condition, compared to the original condition report, apart from ‘fair wear and tear’.
This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other legitimate reasons for the landlord or agent to make a claim against your bond.
Fair wear and tear
You are 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 when the premises receives reasonable care and maintenance. You are only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.
Fair wear and tear – you are not liable
Damage – you are liable
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 up wooden floors
Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors
Faded, chipped or cracked paint
Unapproved paint job
Worn kitchen benchtop
Burns or cuts in bench top
Loose hinges or handles on doors or windows and worn sliding tracks
Broken glass from one of your 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
Claiming a bond using Rental Bonds Online
Go to the Rental Bonds Online page for information on claiming your bond using Rental Bonds Online.
Claiming a bond using a Claim for Refund of Bond Money form
The Claim for Refund of Bond Money form (PDF, 314.49 KB) is used for bonds that are not lodged using Rental Bonds Online. It is best if you can get your landlord or agent 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 landlord or agents signature as soon as possible with Fair Trading.
Fair Trading will send a notice to the landlord or agent giving them 14 days from the date of the notice 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 your forwarding address. The form should also include your bank details as refunds are by direct deposit only. If the landlord or agent 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.
If your landlord or agent lodges a claim for a refund first without your signature, Fair Trading will send you a notice advising of the claim. The notice will be sent to your last known address. You can either try to resolve it with the landlord or agent or apply to the Tribunal within 14 days from the date of the notice 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. Within seven days of lodging the claim, the landlord or agent must send you copies of the final inspection report, along with any estimates, quotes, invoices or receipts relating to the claim. If they fail to do this you should raise it at the Tribunal hearing. You should also tell the Tribunal if you were not given a reasonable opportunity to be present at the final inspection, and if you disagree with what was written in the final condition report. You should also show any evidence you have to support your position.
If you and the landlord or agent 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 landlord or agent can still apply to the Tribunal. There is a six month time limit to do this.
A small amount of interest may be paid to you when you get your bond back. The majority of the income earned from the collective pool of rental bonds is used to fund a range of services that benefit all tenants, such as funding the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and organisations across New South Wales under the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program.