Getting ready to rent out a property? Here’s a tip:
Never give your new tenants the keys to your property unless the bond has been paid in full.
Harsh? Maybe. But for a good reason: regardless of how good the tenants are, it’s good peace of mind for you to make sure everything is set and ready to go for your property, including the bond, before the tenants take possession.
Of course, like most administrative tasks in renting out a property, bonds are never easy. Laws and procedures differ from state to state, so if you have two properties in two different parts of the country you need to be aware of the laws in each one.
And if you don’t lodge correctly or on time, you could be fined.
Figuring out bond laws yourself can be a tricky task.
I’ve put together this ultimate state-by-state guide on how to lodge your bond. It covers everything you need to know about how much the bond should be, and how to lodge it.
Here’s what you need to know:
MAXIMUM BOND: 1 month’s rent (but if the rent is more than $350 a week, you can ask for an unlimited bond – read more here).
Before you request the bond, you should have a signed lease, with the first month’s rent paid.
There are two ways to lodge the bond: either online, or through the post.
If you want to lodge online, you’ll need to do so through the RTBA’s online portal, which provides step-by-step instructions to the landlord and the tenant. In order to use the online portal, you’ll need to register – instructions are available on the website.
If you lodge through the portal, money can be collected through an electronic process detailed here, involving a direct debit.
The second way to lodge is through a paper form. To do so, collect the bond from the tenant via money order, or a cheque, addressed to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
Download the form here, (keep in mind there isn’t a single blank form you can download – you need to input the information then the form is generated for you.)
All parties involved need to sign the printed lodgement form. Then, send the form along with the cheque or money order to the RBTA within 10 days of receiving the bond. Send the form to this address:
Residential Tenancies Bond Authority
Locked Bag 007, Wendouree VIC 3355
Both yourself and the tenant will receive an RTBA receipt within 15 days.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent
To collect a bond, you must first register for Rental Bonds Online with Fair Trading NSW, and enter the information on the Rental Bonds Online website. All landlords are required to use the online service as the first option for tenants.
Once you’re registered, you need to invite the tenant(s) to use the service, and make sure they have a viable online payment method such as BPAY. The online service will provide step-by-step instructions.
If you would still like to use a paper form, you’ll need to download the form from within the RBO system. Fill out the form, get the tenant to sign, then post the form along with a cheque or money order for the amount of the bond to the address listed on the form – you can also lodge it in person at a Service NSW Centre.
You have 10 working days to lodge the bond with Fair Trading. You’ll get a confirmation from Fair Trading once the bond is processed.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent (but if the rent is more than $700 per week, you can ask for an unlimited bond).
Landlords in Queensland need to lodge their bond with the Residential Tenancies Authority.
Download the bond form and fill it out, then request payment from the tenant. The bond can be paid through cheque, money order or BPAY, or paid directly to the landlord.
If a tenant wants to pay through BPAY, then the RTA will send the details to the landlord for this to occur. However, if this happens you should lodge the bond a week before the lease begins to ensure the full payment is processed.
If the landlord received cash or a direct debit from the tenant, then the landlord needs to provide a receipt. Then the landlord makes the bond payment to the RTA.
If the money is being sent via BPAY, the form can be uploaded online here. However, if the money is being sent in a cheque or money order, either must be addressed to the Residential Tenancies Authority and the form sent to:
GPO Box 390
Brisbane QLD 4001
You have 10 days to lodge the form. You’ll receive a receipt from the RTBA within about two weeks.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent, but you can increase the bond after two years.
There isn’t a centralised bond institution in the Northern Territory, so the tenant needs to pay landlords directly. This can be through cash, cheque or a credit card.
Landlords need to provide a receipt, though, which needs some specific information including dates, names, the amount paid and address of the property, and make sure the bond is deposited in a bank or other financial institution in the Northern Territory.
This can be your own bank account that you use every day, but read more information here on the specifics.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent, but you can add $260 if the tenant has a pet and ask for extra if the rent is over $1,200 per week.
Bonds are lodged through the Department of Commerce. To collect the bond, you can take cash, cheque, credit card or a direct debit. If creating a money order or cheque, the tenant needs to make that order out to to the Bond Administrator.
However, a tenant paying in cash or otherwise can only be accepted in person at the office of the Department of Commerce. If you choose for the tenant to have the funds direct debited, keep in mind the funds won’t be guaranteed – so lodge the form by email at least a week before you hand over the keys.
You can collect the bond yourself, and produce your own direct debit details (bank account) on the lodgement form. But you need to provide a receipt when you receive the money.
Landlords need to complete the form from the Department of Commerce, and have all parties sign. The form needs to be lodged within 14 days of receiving the bond.
Forms can be lodged through email or posted to the Bond Administration:
Department of Commerce
Locked Bag 14
Perth WA 6850
Email: email@example.com (can only be used if Direct Debit option is selected).
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent (but if the rent is more than $250 per week you can ask up to six weeks of rent, and you can top up the bond after two years).
To collect the bond, you first need to register for Residential Bonds Online, the state’s online service for managing bonds. There are step-by-step instructions for signing up and managing the bond process here.
You can also lodge bonds using the paper form, for which you can accept money through either direct debit or a cheque, payable to the Residential Tenancies Fund.
Landlords need to complete the form from the Residential Tenancies Fund, sign it, then have the tenant sign and lodge. Landlords need to give tenants a receipt within 48 hours of payment.
The form needs to be lodged at a CBS facility or via post, addressed to:
Residential Tenancies Fund
Consumer and Business Services
Customer Service Centre
91 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Landlords in SA must lodge a bond within two weeks of receiving full or part payment of a bond. If the tenant doesn’t sign the form, the bond must still be lodged within the required timeframe.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent
Any bond needs to be lodged with the Rental Deposit Authority. Tenants can pay using bank cheques or money orders, but not cash. Any cheques or money orders need to be made payable to the Rental Deposit Authority.
Tenants may choose to lodge the form and pay the bond directly to the Rental Deposit Authority by post.
MAXIMUM BOND: 4 weeks’ rent
The tenant needs to provide the landlord with a money order, or bank cheque, made payable to the Office of Rental Bonds. However, the bond lodgement form also has space for credit card details – but these funds aren’t guaranteed, so you should email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org at least a week before the start of the lease. Do this so you can be sure the funds have been collected by the Office of Rental Boards before the lease starts.
Landlords need to complete the form from the Office of Rental Bonds, and make sure every party signs. The form needs to be lodged within two weeks of receiving the bond. Once it’s lodged, the ORB will send a receipt to all parties.