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Agreeing on the bond
At the end of a tenancy or residency, discuss with the landlord/agent or owner how the bond money is to be divided. This discussion may include resolving issues that arise from, for example, any damage to the property or rent owing.
The agreed division of the bond should be set out on the completed Bond Claim form, which is sent to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). Note: if a bond is a loan from the Department of Health & Human Services, you cannot provide authority for some or all of this money to be paid to the landlord. You or the landlord must apply for a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
How to claim a bond
The RTBA holds all Victorian residential tenancy bonds, including those on rented premises, long-term caravans, rooming houses (buildings where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms) and sites under site agreements.
To claim a bond, visit the RTBA Online website. Ensure pop ups are enabled on your web browser; otherwise you will not be able to generate the Bond Claim form.
Note: As each bond form has a unique number, blank downloadable forms cannot be provided. However, you can request a pre-printed form to be mailed to you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the RTBA on 1300 137 164.
Never sign a Bond Claim form that does not show the amount you are to receive as a bond repayment. It is an offence for a landlord or their agent to request or obtain your signature on a Bond Claim form that does not show how the bond is to be refunded and distributed.
Once signed by both parties, the Bond Claim form should be sent to the RTBA without delay.
How long does it take for my bond to be refunded?
If you give the RTBA your bank account details, the Bond Claim form is filled in correctly, and the payee signature can be matched against the Bond Lodgement or Tenant Transfer form, you should have your bond returned in two to three business days.
How does the RTBA repay a bond?
The RTBA will repay a bond directly into a nominated bank account if, on the Bond Claim form:
- valid bank account details have been provided
- signatures can be matched
- no amendments have been made to this information.
If you have not provided valid bank account details, but have provided a forwarding address, the RTBA will send a cheque.
If you do not have an Australian bank account, the RTBA can issue a cheque suitable for banking into an overseas bank account. Alternatively, a telegraphic transfer can be arranged for a fee.
If the RTBA cannot repay a bond to a valid bank account, issue a cheque or telegraphic transfer, it will retain the bond until a permitted payment option is provided.
Outstanding bond repayments
The RTBA Online website allows you to search for any outstanding bond repayment you believe you may be owed after your tenancy ends.
To search for and claim an outstanding bond repayment, visit the RTBA Online website. Ensure pop ups are enabled in your web browser; otherwise you will not be able to generate the Retained Repayment Request form.
If you cannot agree on the bond
If you and your landlord/agent or owner cannot agree on the division of the bond, you may apply to VCAT for a hearing to resolve the matter. Application forms are available from the VCAT website (see the Related information section below for details) or by calling 03 9628 9800.
As a tenant or resident, you may apply to VCAT for a hearing relating to bonds at any time after the end of the tenancy or residency.
If you receive an order from VCAT directing the RTBA to release the funds, a Bond Claim form must be completed with payment details. The complete VCAT order must also be attached to the form. You do not need the signature of the landlord/agent or owner.
If signatures do not match
The RTBA matches the signatures of tenants, residents, landlords/agents and owners with the signatures registered via Bond Lodgement or Tenant Transfer forms.
If the signatures do not match, the RTBA will usually return the Bond Claim form to the landlord/agent or owner to be re-submitted. The notice covering the return will set out the RTBA requirements, including the options of:
- submitting a new form with signatures signed in the same manner as the original signature held by the RTBA, or
- the landlord or owner providing a statutory declaration confirming the identity of the signatories and providing the RTBA with an indemnity against loss, or
- the agent providing an Agent Certification of Tenant Signatures letter confirming the identity of the signatories and providing the RTBA with an indemnity against loss, or
- providing an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or a court directing the RTBA on how to repay the bond.
Change of name
If you change your name by marriage or by deed poll during your tenancy or residency, attach a copy of the Marriage Certificate or Change of Name Certificate to the Bond Claim form or the Tenant Transfer form when it is submitted to the RTBA.
If a party to the bond cannot sign the form
The RTBA will accept an authority in writing (by post or fax but not email) authorising the disbursement or transfer of the bond. This letter must be attached to the form when it is submitted and include a signature that the RTBA can match to its records.
If a party cannot be contacted, an application should be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal seeking an order directing the RTBA to repay or transfer the bond.
Can you pay your final rent using the bond?
No. The bond and rent are separate payments. Tenants or residents may be fined for treating any part of the bond as rent. This includes if the rental agreement is in its last month.