Under the new rental laws, renters have a new option to apply to have their bond released.
A renter may apply to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) to have all or part of the bond released. This can now be done without the rental provider’s (landlord’s) agreement.
Previously, renting laws only allowed joint bond claims by both the renter and the rental provider.
However, the new process will take at least 14 days and generally the fastest way to get a bond refund is a joint claim by the renter and rental provider.
Claiming the bond without the rental provider’s agreement
If the renter makes an individual bond claim without the rental provider’s agreement, the RTBA will issue a written notice to the rental provider alerting them to the renter’s claim and giving them the opportunity to dispute it.
The notice will state that the RTBA will pay the claim as instructed unless the rental provider informs the RTBA in writing, within 14 days, that the claim is subject to an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
If the rental provider informs the RTBA of a VCAT application, the RTBA will only repay the bond if either:
- all VCAT orders requiring action before repayment of the bond have been complied with, or
- the VCAT application is withdrawn or dismissed.
The RTBA will not repay the bond until any proceedings affecting the claim are finally determined, including any appeals.
A rental provider can only make an individual claim to the RTBA if all the bond is going to the renter. If the rental provider wants to claim some of the bond but does not have the renter’s agreement, the rental provider must apply to VCAT for a bond repayment order.
Change of early release notice period
Where a renter lodges a claim that directs that the bond be paid to the rental provider, the renter must not sign the claim form more than 14 days before the end of the rental agreement. Previously, this was limited to seven days.
These changes also apply to bonds in rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
The new rental laws apply from 29 March 2021.