Releasing or claiming the bond – landlords and owners

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Agreeing on the bond

At the end of a tenancy or residency, discuss with the tenant or resident how the bond money is to be divided. This discussion may include resolving issues, such as any damage to the property or rent owing.

The agreed division of the bond should be set out in the bond claim, which should be submitted within 10 business days after the tenancy or residency ends. After 10 business days, the tenant/resident can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to have their bond returned.

Log in or register to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) Online website and submit a bond claim online. For help with registering, see our page on getting started with RTBA Online.

How to release or claim the bond

Estate agents must complete bond transactions electronically, unless they have to attach paper evidence (such as a VCAT order) to the bond claim. 

To release or claim a bond, log in to the RTBA Online website, search the bond number and select ‘Refund this bond’. See our video and guide on claiming a bond on RTBA Online for detailed steps.

If you need to submit a paper form, you can generate a bond claim form on RTBA Online. Blank forms are not available as each form has a unique number. A bond claim form must be signed by you, and all tenant(s) or resident(s). It is an offence to request or obtain a tenant’s signature on a bond claim form that does not specify the: 

  • amount of bond to be refunded, and
  • distribution of that amount.

Once signed by all parties, the bond claim form must be mailed to the RTBA without delay.

When can I claim all/a portion of the bond?

As a landlord/property manager or owner, you can try to recover all or part of the bond at the end of a tenancy if:

  • the tenant or resident:
    • or their visitors have damaged the property
    • has left and owes rent (rent in arrears)
    • has abandoned the premises 
    • has left you to pay bills they should have paid 
  • there are cleaning or repair expenses that exceed normal ‘wear and tear’
  • items that were part of the tenancy agreement are missing.


If you cannot agree on the bond

If you and your tenant or resident cannot agree on the division of the bond, you may need to apply to VCAT. 

VCAT will hear the case and make a decision on how the bond will be divided. You or your agent may also claim compensation over and above the amount of the bond (a fee will apply for that application).

A claim to VCAT must be made within 10 business days of you becoming aware of the tenant or resident leaving the premises.

If you have an order from VCAT, you must generate a paper bond claim form on RTBA Online, provide banking details and attach:

  • a copy of photo identification with a signature visible for all tenants/residents to verify signatures on the claim form
  • the VCAT order.

Mail the claim form and attachments to the RTBA, following the instructions on the form.