Making a bond claim

If the tenant owes you money after the tenancy ends, you can make a claim against the tenant's bond.

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.

There may be other legitimate reasons for making a claim against the tenant's bond, including the cost of disposing of goods left behind by the tenant.

Fair wear and tear

Fair wear and tear refers to the deterioration that occurs over time. Your tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear. The tenant is only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

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 benchtop

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

Claiming a bond using Rental Bonds Online

Claims for online bonds must be submitted through Rental Bonds Online (RBO).

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

The Claim for Refund of Bond Money form (PDF, 314.37 KB) is used for bonds that were not lodged using Rental Bonds Online. If you can’t get the tenant to agree and sign the form, you should lodge it without the tenant’s signature. 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.

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.

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 without the tenant's signature, you must send copies of the following to the tenant within seven days:

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

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.

Note: Only send the claim form to NSW Fair Trading.

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