Rental Bonds in Queensland
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (QLD) outlines the rules for collection, management and refund of rental bonds in Queensland. The RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) administers the Act and holds the rental bonds during a tenancy.
What is a rental bond?
A rental bond is money paid upfront by the tenant at the start of their tenancy agreement. It is used as financial protection for the landlord in the case that the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement. This payment is paid in addition to rent, and is not to be used as advanced rental payments.
Does a rental bond have to be supplied?
The Act does not require that a bond has to be given. However, it is considered best practice from the vast majority of landlords/agencies to request and take a bond payment as security for the premises. The agency or landlord may need to claim part of, or all of the bond payment at the end of a tenancy agreement if the tenant costs them money by damaging the premises, breaching the agreement or to cover any outstanding rent owned at the commencement of the tenancy.
When is a bond taken?
A bond is generally required to be paid after the prospective tenant has been approved for the property, and has been given a copy of the proposed tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement will have attached any special terms and conditions of the proposed tenancy, as well as copies of paperwork such as body corporate by-laws. Upon signing this agreement, the tenant will be asked to pay for the bond, which is usually equivalent to 4-weeks rent on the property*.
How much bond can be given?
For general tenancies the law states that if the rent is $700 or less per week, the maximum bond amount is four weeks rent. However, if the weekly rent is higher than $700 per week, the amount of bond can be negotiated between the landlord/agent and the tenant of the property. *The law gives no maximum amount where the weekly rent is higher than $700.
How is the bond money paid?
The bond payment should be paid to the real estate agency or landlord once the tenancy agreement has been finalised and signed by all parties. An agency will require the tenant to pay the bond into the agency’s nominated bank account. Once the bond is received the agency/landlord will be required to give the tenant a receipt straight away, and lodge the bond money received within 10 days to the RTA for holding.
What happens to the bond?
Once the bond is paid it is then transferred to the RTA for holding throughout the duration of the lease agreement on the property. The bond is required to be paid before the agency or landlord can release the keys to the property to the tenant. At the end of the agreement, either party can make a claim on the bond.
What happens if the tenant can not afford the bond payment?
If the tenant can not afford to pay the bond money up front, they may be able to, subject to the landlords and real estate agents approval:
- Pay the bond off in instalments over time, or by making part-payments either to the agency or via the RTA online Bond Lodgement service until the full amount is paid.
- Take out a bond loan. A bond loan can be applied for via the Department of Housing and Public Works. You would need to meet the eligibility criteria to be offered a bond loan.
Can the bond be transferred from one property to another?
In short no, however, a tenant can use the RTA’s change of rental property form if they are moving from one property to another, and there is no change of property manager/owner, or bond amount. This form will only change the address of the existing bond. The bond amount, tenants, property manager/landlord details cannot be changed.
How is the bond refunded at the end of the tenancy?
Either the tenant or the property manager/landlord can apply for the bond to be refunded or submit a claim on the bond via the RTA’s online bond refund portal once the property keys have been handed back to the agency/landlord of the property, and the lease date ends.
Once the refund has been requested, all parties will be sent a fast track email, which gives them 48hrs to request a quick and easy bond refund online. If all parties agree, the refund can be refunded within hours.
If one or more parties do not respond to the fast track email within the 48hr time frame, or they disagree with the refund, a Notice of claim will be sent out. The notice of claim is sent to all parties who have not responded to, or disagreed with the bond refund. All parties then have 14-days to respond to the notice of claim and either agree or dispute the bond refund. If the party who has received the notice of claim takes no action or response, the RTA will automatically refund the requested amount of the claim to the party requesting it once the 14-day period expires.
If the parties don’t agree with the claim, they will be able to dispute the bond via the RTA’s Web Services, for more information on disputes visit the RTA’s dispute resolution page.
For more information on rental bonds click here. Or contact the RTA on 1300 366 311.