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What is a bond?
A bond is a payment by a tenant/resident to the landlord or owner that acts as security against the tenant/resident meeting the terms of their rental agreement. The bond money must be given back when the tenant/resident leaves, unless the tenant/resident has broken either 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 residential properties in Victoria must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
Bonds provided from a tenant’s own money can be lodged via the RTBA Online website using an electronic transaction or a paper form.
Electronic transactions are validated online. Paper forms with errors may be rejected, requiring you to re-do and re-submit the form.
Bonds provided as a loan from the Director of Housing (DoH) must be submitted by post to the address below, using the bond loan voucher provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. The DoH will make an electronic funds transfer to the RTBA for the amount specified in the voucher.
Electronic transaction – agents and landlords
Electronic transactions can only be initiated by agents and landlords who are registered with the RTBA as a property manager. For more information, visit the ‘Find out about registering’ page on the RTBA Online website.
To do an electronic transaction, sign in from the RTBA Online home page and select ‘Lodge a bond’. For more information, visit the About Electronic Transactions page on the RTBA Online website.
You can generate a paper bond lodgement form through the RTBA Online website, as a PDF for printing. Make sure you enter all the required information. If you have trouble generating the form, check your browser has pop-ups enabled.
Blank forms are not available, because each form requires a unique identification number.
The completed form must be:
- signed by all parties to the bond.
- posted to the RTBA with the lodgement payment, payable to ‘the RTBA’. This payment must be in Australian dollars as a cheque from an Australian bank or a money order from Australia Post. The postal address is:
Locked Bag 007
Wendouree, VIC 3355
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.
In a short-term lease (five years or less), if the weekly rent is $350 or less, the bond cannot be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent.
In a long-term lease (more than five years) using Form 2, if the weekly rent is $760 or less, the bond cannot be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent. For more information about Form 2, view our Long-term leases section.
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
- weekly rent is more than $350 (short-term lease) or $760 (long-term lease), or
- the landlord or estate agent gets an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) setting out the amount of an increased bond.
In a long-term lease agreement (using Form 2), a landlord can ask the tenant to top up the bond amount after five years, by giving them 120 days’ written notice. This can only occur if there are five or more years left on the lease, or the lease is extended so that there are five or more years left. The top-up process is similar to bond lodgement, and is carried out through the RTBA Online website.
Amount of bond top-up
If the landlord chooses to top up the bond, and the rent is less than $760 per week at the time of top-up, the total amount of bond after the top-up cannot be more than four weeks’ rent. For example, if the rent when the lease was signed was $700 per week and the rent after five years is $750 per week, the landlord can ask the tenant to lodge a further amount as long as the total bond lodged with the RTBA does not exceed four weeks’ rent.
There are no limits to the initial bond amount or bond top-up amount where the rent is more than $760 per week, or increases to more than $760 per week during the tenancy.
When the bond top-up can occur
The top-up can only occur after five years, and only if there are five or more years left on the lease.
For example, in a 10-year lease, the landlord can ask the tenant to top up the bond after five years as there are still five years left on the lease. In a seven-year lease, the landlord cannot ask the tenant to top up the bond after five years, as there will only be two years left on the lease.
If the tenant agrees, the landlord can extend the lease agreement so that there are five or more years remaining. This would allow the bond to be topped up.
If the tenant does not top up the bond
If the tenant does not pay the required amount on the date specified in the 120 days’ written notice, it will be treated the same way as rent arrears. For more information, view our Rent arrears page.
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 with the resident, 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, either party can make an application to VCAT to determine who is entitled to the bond.
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 RTBA. 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 copy of the condition report.
Bond lodgements can be generated at the RTBA Online website - view our How to lodge a bond section above.
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, and the landlord/estate agent or owner if they have requested one.
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 RTBA Online.
If you do not receive the bond receipt within 15 business days after paying a bond, email the RTBA at email@example.com or call 1300 137 164. Note: 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.
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