Bond amounts and payments

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A bond is a payment that rental providers (landlords) can request at the start of a rental agreement (lease). The bond is held by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) during the rental period.

Bonds cover some costs rental providers may have to pay when the renter moves out.

The bond and rent are separate payments. The bond cannot be used to pay rent.

Condition reports are important evidence for bond claims. Rental providers must give a condition report to renters before they move in.

On this page:

Other pages have information about claiming a bond at the end of an agreement and when additional bond can be requested.

Maximum bond amounts

In most cases, a bond cannot be more than one month’s rent.

A rental provider can only ask for a higher bond when either:

  • the weekly rent for the property is more than $900
  • VCAT has set a higher bond for the property. They might do this because of the character of the property or the quality of the fittings and furniture.

There is no rule about maximum bond in these cases.

Before March 2020, rental providers could also ask for a higher bond if they planned to live in a property at the end of the rental period. This does not apply to agreements signed after March 2020.

There are different rules for residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.

Maximum bond amount for rooming house residents 

For residents in rooming houses, the maximum amount of bond depends on the type of agreement they have.

  • The bond cannot be more than 28 days’ rent for residents on a fixed term rooming house agreement.
  • The bond cannot be more than 14 days’ rent for residents who are not on fixed term agreements.

A rooming house is a property where 4 or more people can occupy the rooms. Each resident has an individual agreement with the rooming house operator. This makes it different to a share house where everyone signs the same agreement. Find out more about rooming house agreements.

Maximum bond amount for caravan park residents

The bond cannot be more than 1 month’s rent or hiring charge in a caravan park.

A park owner cannot ask for a bond unless the parties have a written residency agreement.

Someone renting a caravan and a site separately may have to pay 2 separate bonds: a bond for the caravan and another for the site.

Find our more about residency in a caravan park.

Maximum bond amount for part 4A park residents who own their moveable dwelling 

The bond for site tenants cannot be more than the equivalent of 1 month’s rent if the rent is $900 a week or less.

A site tenant is someone who owns a moveable dwelling and rents a site for it in the caravan park or residential park they live in. A movable dwelling is also called a manufactured home or relocatable home.

Find out more about site agreements in residential parks and villages.

How and when bonds are paid 

There is no specified timeframe for when to pay bond, but most rental providers will ask for it before renters move in. The rental provider may give the renter a notice to vacate if they do not pay the bond as required under the agreement.

During a rental agreement, bonds are held by the RTBA, an independent government body. Bonds are held in trust so that renters and rental providers have equal say in how bonds should be repaid at the end of a rental agreement.

First, renters pay bond to the rental provider. Then, rental providers must lodge the bond with the RTBA.

If a rental provider asks for a bond, they must give the renter 2 copies of the condition report (or 1 electronic copy) before they move in. The renter should check the condition report can make comments to record their own notes about the condition of the property. They must return the condition report to the rental provider within 5 business days of moving in.

There are rules about what happens to the bond after the renter has paid:

  • The rental provider must lodge the bond with the RTBA within 10 business days (does not include weekends and public holidays) of receiving it.
  • The RTBA must give a receipt with the bond ID number to the rental provider and renter within 7 days.

In a sub-let, the head renter needs to manage the bond. Read more about sub-lets.

Find out more about condition reports or the process of lodging the bond.

Proof the bond has been lodged 

Renters will receive a bond receipt from the RTBA once the bond has been lodged.

Note: If the renter did not give an email address, the receipt will be sent by mail. Rental providers will only get a receipt if they ask for one. Property managers can only receive a receipt via email.

The bond receipt has the bond ID number. It is important to keep this because it can be used to search RTBA Online to view or change bond details.

If you do not receive a bond receipt within 15 business days of paying a bond, call the RTBA on 1300 137 164. If you know your bond number, you can go to RTBA Online and search for your bond. A ‘bond summary’ will appear which can be used as their receipt.

Rental providers and property managers can register on RTBA Online to manage bonds registered to them. Renters do not need to register to view their bond or update their contact details.

Find out how to lodge a bond with the RTBA or how to claim a bond at the end of a rental agreement.

Managing bond payments in share houses

The RTBA can only pay out a bond at the end of a rental agreement. Everyone who is a party to the bond must agree to the bond claim electronically on RTBA Online.

When renters move in and out of a share house they need to transfer the names on the rental agreement with the rental provider. Then the rental provider must transfer the bond with the RTBA.

When extra bond can be requested

Rental providers can only ask for extra bond in a long term agreement or when renters ask to make changes to a property. This is called a bond top-up.

Additional bond when renters make changes to a property is a ‘modification bond’. This can be part of the bond paid when a renter moves in, or paid later.

See more information about extra bond to cover changes to a rental property.

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about bond amounts and payments, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Part 2 – Division 2 – Bonds
  • Part 10 – Bonds and the Residential Tenancies Bonds Authority.