At the beginning of a lease you will need to pay a security deposit, commonly known as a bond, which is equivalent to 4 weeks rent.
Once you give the landlord or real estate agent the bond, they must give you a receipt and deposit your money in a bank or other financial institution account in the Northern Territory.
The bond money is held for the time that you are renting the place. At the end of your tenancy you and the real estate agent carry out a final inspection on the place. If there are no disputes over the condition of the place at the end of the tenancy the agent shall return your bond within 7 business days of you moving out.
Avoiding problems with the bond
You can do a few things to avoid having problems with the refund of the entire bond money at the end of the tenancy.
Within 3 days of you moving in to the property, the landlord may give you a signed condition report. The report describes the condition of the place you are renting at the start of the tenancy and it will be used again at the end of the tenancy to check if the property has been left in the same condition as it was at the beginning. Make sure you note on it any damage, faults or repairs that are needed and remember to sign and return the condition report to the real estate agent within 5 days of receiving it. If the landlord returns the condition report with any changes initialled within 5 business days, the report is taken to be accepted. It is also taken to be accepted if the condition report is not returned.
- Take photographs of faults/repairs that you think may cause a dispute later.
- Look after the place and leave it in the same condition to when you moved in (fair wear and tear excepted).
Getting the bond back at the end of the tenancy
As soon as the tenancy ends, if there is no dispute over the condition of the place, the landlord/agent must return your security deposit within 7 business days of you vacating the premises.
If the landlord/agent is withholding security deposit (bond) monies for such things as unpaid rent, damages, cleaning, electricity or gas, he/she must advise you in writing within 7 business days after you vacate the premises. This notice must be accompanied with copies of receipts or quotes proving the costs incurred by the landlord that he/she is wanting to withhold.
If you do not agree with the reasons the agent or landlord has given for withholding the bond, you should first discuss the matter and if you still cannot agree phone Consumer Affairs on 1800 019 319 for further advice.