Making a Claim for the Bond

Sometimes there is a legitimate need to make a claim for the bond from your tenant. Here's what you need to do if it happens.

What are the procedures for resolving disputes and claims related to bonds?

In Australia, a bond deposit is a sum of money that a renter pays to a state or territory's bond authority before moving into a rental property. The bond provides security for the property owner in case the tenant breaches the lease agreement.

In a perfect world tenancies would all run smoothly, there would be no disputes and the property is returned in good condition once the tenancy ends but this doesn’t always happen, and sometimes there is a legitimate need to make a claim for the bond from your tenant. 

What can be claimed against the bond? 

When it comes to claiming the rental bond, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as whether the tenant owes money or whether the tenant failed to follow their tenancy agreement, causing the owner losses. 

Bond claims are generally triggered by the following circumstances:

  • Owing of rent or unpaid bills
  • The tenant broke the lease early and didn’t pay tje break fee stated in the tenancy agreement
  • The tenant did not return all the copies of the keys
  • The tenant caused damage or did not leave the premises in a reasonably clean condition

Can Wear and Tear be claimed against the bond? 

It’s important to remember that normal wear and tear of the property caused by everyday use is not entitled to be claimed through the bond. Tenants are only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

Some examples of wear and tear vs damage:

Paint that has faded, cracked, or chipped is usually fair wear and tear, but unapproved painting may be the tenant is liable.

Markings on floorboards usually are usually general wear and tear, but badly scratched floorboards could mean that the tenant's are liable.

Indentions in the carpet caused by furniture are expected and are classed as normal wear and tear, but stains on the carpet that didn't exist prior to the tenant moving in may be mean the tenant is liable.

Resolving Bond Disputes

When the tenancy comes to an end, it’s always good to meet with the tenant for a final inspection and address any issues or concerns that you have. Sometimes things can be dealt with then and there and everyone walks away happy. 

In the event that the property is left in an unsuitable condition, a claim can be made against the tenant's bond.

How to make a claim against the bond

The tenant has the right to make a claim for their bond back as soon as the tenancy finishes. 

If the landlord needs to make a claim for bond, they will usually be required to supply supporting evidence for the claim such as the exit condition report and any receipts, quotes, invoices or estimates they’ve received to rectify the issue. 

The way bonds are handled vary from state to state. See the below for links to find out more information on how to make a claim against the bond as a property owner according to the state you’re in.


In New South Wales, you can submit a claim for a bond refund using your Rental Bonds Online (RBO) account. If NSW Fair Trading receives the claim prior to a claim from your tenant, they'll email the tenant a 14-day Notice of Claim.

The tenant can  log on to RBO, view the claim details, and if in agreement, confirm the bond be refunded to you. If the tenant is not in agreement with the claim, they'll need to inform Fair Trading within the 14 days that they've applied to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a hearing to dispute the amount.

Find more information here.


In Queensland, a bond refund request should be completed and sent to the RTA when the tenancy has ended. 

Property owners can submit a bond refund form online using RTA Web Services or the paper-based Refund of rental bond (Form 4) on or after the tenancy end date or handover date has occurred. You cannot apply before this date and penalties may apply for providing false and misleading information.

The RTA encourages all parties to try and resolve any issues in the first instance. The RTA will process the first bond refund request made (Party A). If the other person (Party B), whose signature/agreement is missing, disagrees with Party A’s refund request, they can dispute the claim within the timeframe stated to prevent payment.

Find more information here.


In Victoria, bond money is returned to renters when they move out at the end of the agreement, unless there is a reason for the rental provider (landlord) to make a claim.

If you can’t agree on the bond, either the renter or the rental provider can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a decision.

Claiming online is the fastest way for a bond to be paid. Rental providers must be registered to use RTBA Online to start the claim or refund. 

Find more information here.


In South Australia, the bond should be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease if there are no claims by the landlord for cleaning, outstanding rent or other costs.

You can make a claim on RBO or by filling in a bond refund form.

When a refund form is received (claiming a bond amount), the person who hasn't given consent on the form is notified of a claim. This gives people a chance to dispute it. The notice includes information about the claim and the final date that CBS needs a response.

If the tenant does not respond, the landlord must provide evidence of their claim. Claims can be refused if the evidence is insufficient – an application will then need to be made the South Australian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

Find more information here.


In Tasmania, all bonds must be managed online through MyBond.

Property owners or tenants must start a bond claim to recover bond monies. The claim must be approved by all parties to authorise the release of bond monies to the other party.

An owner must start a claim in MyBond within three days of receiving the keys.

Find more information here.


In Western Australia, the landlord and tenant/s must agree on the bond disposal at the end of a tenancy. At the end of a tenancy, bond money will only be paid out if all tenants and the lessor agree or a court order is obtained from a magistrate for a residential tenancy agreement.

Only a magistrate has the power to settle matters in a residential tenancy dispute.  Further information is on the disputes about bonds page.

Find more information here.


In the Australian Capital Territory, the ACT Rental Bonds office on application will refer a dispute between the lessor and tenants to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

Any portion of the bond that is undisputed will be refunded. The disputed portion of the bond can be refunded at any time, should the parties resolve their dispute, by lodging a completed Bond Refund form signed by all parties.

Find more information here.


In the Northern Territory, landlords must advise tenants in writing with an RT08 notice within 7 business days after they vacate the premises if there is a claim for the bond. 

This notice must be accompanied with copies of receipts or quotes proving the costs incurred that you are wanting to withhold. 

If you and the tenant cannot come to an agreement, you should phone Consumer Affairs on 1800 019 319 for further advice.

If you do not provide the RT08 notice within 7 business days of you moving out, you must give you the bond back to the tenant. 

Find more information here.

Bond claims should be treated with care.

Renters and landlords don't always see eye-to-eye and disputes can get ugly. In order to determine whether you need to make a claim for the bond, you’ll need to ensure that you are completing a final inspection of the property and using the initial condition report to compare any changes to the property during the tenancy. 

There are rules in some states which require the renter be present during the final inspection, or have been given a reasonable opportunity to be there to ensure the inspection is conducted fairly. 

The process of seeking a bond must be handled carefully and diligently with respect to your tenant. For most tenants it's really important that they receive their bond back - the bond should never be treated as a way to conduct normal repairs or due maintenance on a property. 

The bond money belongs to your tenant and in the event that damage or otherwise occurs, the onus and responsibility is on you as a landlord to provide the proof. 

Landlord insurance is a really important investment and comes in handy in the unique instance where the bond is insufficient to cover costs and the landlord is left out-of-pocket, either footing the bills or pursuing the tenants through the courts. 

Read more - Handling the Bond for Your Property