Currently a Landlord must lodge all residential tenancy bonds with the Department of Fair Trading, and so when a tenant is leaving the premises the parties need to apply to Fair Trading for the bond to be returned.

If the landlord or the real estate agent are delaying signing and lodging the necessary form, or if there is some dispute about whether the tenant is entitled to their full bond, then a tenant can lodge a Claim for Refund of Bond Money with Fair Trading by fax. Fair Trading will then give the real estate agent notice that the Claim has been lodged and give them 14 days to prove that they have commenced proceedings in the Consumer Tenancy & Trader Tribunal. If the real estate agent does not lodge the claim within 14 days then the bond will be refunded to the tenant.

This can be useful if the landlord or real estate agent is dragging their feet, or if they are claiming some deduction, for instance, that the tenant has damaged the premises but the tenant maintains that the property is as it was when it was when originally rented. This Claim puts the landlord on notice that they either need to be willing to lodge a claim with the CTTT, or refund your bond.

Of course the real estate agent and the tenant can also agree to release the bond and sign the necessary paperwork together. The other procedure is only necessary if the tenant and the Agent can’t reach an agreement.