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What is a bond?
A bond is payment by a tenant or resident that acts as security for the landlord or owner against the tenant or resident meeting the terms of their rental agreement. The bond money must be given back when the tenant leaves, unless the tenant has broken either the the terms of the lease or the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. For more information, view our Claiming the bond page.
How to lodge a bond
All rental bonds for properties in Victoria must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). It is an offence for a landlord or agent who receives money for bond from a tenant, not to lodge it with the RTBA.
To lodge a bond, either:
- visit the RTBA Online website. Ensure pop ups are enabled in your web browser; otherwise you will not be able to generate the bond lodgement form
- request a pre-printed bond lodgement form to be mailed to you, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the RTBA on 1300 137 164. Calling this number costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone. Lodgement details are on the form.
Checking the details and status of a transaction
RTBA Online allows tenants, residents, landlords, estate agents and owners to view the details and status of a bond transaction.
Estate agents can be approved as registered users, so they can view and undertake transactions on bonds registered to them.
To check the details and status of a bond transaction, visit the RTBA Online website. Ensure pop ups are enabled in your web browser; otherwise you will not be able to view the Bond Summary page.
Tenants renting a house, unit or apartment will usually be required to pay a bond.
If the rent is $350 a week or less, the bond cannot be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent.
A landlord or estate agent may charge a bond that is more than one month's rent if the:
- tenancy agreement states that the premises are the landlord's principal residence and the landlord intends to resume living there at the end of the tenancy, or
- rent is more than $350 a week, or
- landlord or estate agent gets an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal setting out the amount of an increased bond.
For rooming house residents
If you are a rooming house resident and the owner asks you to pay a bond, the amount cannot be more than the equivalent of 14 days’ rent.
Note: A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms.
For caravan park residents
A park owner cannot ask for a bond unless there is already a written agreement, and may be penalised for breaking this law.
If you have hired the caravan separately to the site, you may have to pay two bonds: one for the owner of the caravan and one for the caravan park owner.
The bond for the site, or the caravan, cannot be more than the equivalent of 28 days’ rent or hire charge.
For site tenants
If you are a site tenant and the site owner asks you to pay a bond, the bond cannot be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent if the rent is $350 a week or less.
Tenant and resident responsibilities
The bond and rent are separate payments. You cannot use any part of the bond as rent.
You must meet the conditions of your rental agreement in order to get back the full bond amount once you leave your rental property, rooming house, caravan or site under a site agreement.
The landlord/estate agent or owner may claim part or all of the bond money if, for example, you have damaged the property or owe rent. If there is disagreement between the parties at the end of tenancy, on application VCAT will determine who is entitled to the rent.
If a bond payment is dishonoured, the landlord/estate agent or owner can organise to collect the money and re-lodge the bond, or give you a:
If you get permission from your landlord or estate agent to sub-let the rental property, you must take on landlord responsibilities for the sub-tenant. This includes lodging the sub-tenant’s bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. For more information, view our Subletting (sub-tenancy) page.
Landlord/estate agent and owner responsibilities
If you are a landlord/estate agent or owner and take a bond from a tenant or resident, you must give them a:
- completed and signed official Bond Lodgement form for them to sign
- copy of the Condition Report.
Bond Lodgement forms can be generated at the RTBA Online website - view our How to lodge a bond section above.
Note: You can request pre-printed forms to be mailed to you by contacting the RTBA on 1300 137 164 or email@example.com. Calling this number costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone.
Completed forms along with a cheque/ money order made out to RTBA must be sent to: RTBA, Locked Bag 007, Wendouree VIC 3355.
The RTBA needs the details and signatures on this form so it can pay out the bond at the end of the tenancy or residency.
It is your responsibility to send the bond form to the RTBA within 10 business days of receiving the bond. If the bond is being lodged by mail from a country area, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times.
Bond receipt and bond receipt/ID number
When the RTBA receives the Bond Lodgement form, it must send a receipt to the tenant or resident, as well as to the landlord/estate agent or owner.
Once you receive the bond receipt, make a note of the bond receipt/ID number. This number can be found on the receipt and is required for future searches and to claim the bond on the RTBA website.
If you have not received the RTBA’s receipt 15 business days after paying a bond, or have lost the bond receipt and not kept a record of the number, contact the RTBA on 1300 137 164. Calling this number costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone.