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    What is the Bond and how does it work?

    Tenants are required to pay a Tenants Security Bond in order to protect the owner in the event of damage or unpaid rent.

    If, at the end of your lease, there is damage to the property or you are behind in some rent payments then the owner will claim that money from the Bond.

    The Bond is paid at a rate of four times the weekly rent e.g. a home renting for $450 per week will require a bond of $1,800.

    The Bond is not kept by the owner or the real estate agency, but deposited with a central Bond Administrator through the State Government Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. There it is protected until the end of your lease.

    Once tenant and owner have agreed to the lease ending and the property is returned to the owner in the same state and condition (with the exception of fair wear and tear) outlined in the initial Property Condition Report, a Bond Statement will be drafted.

    A Joint Application for Disposal of Security Bond form is then signed to allow the Bond to be released from the Bond Administrator.

    Where there might be an unresolved dispute between tenant and owner over unpaid rent or damage, the Bond is held by the Bond Administrator until the matter is settled in the Magistrates Court.

    How long should it take to have the Bond returned?

    Once the Form 4 Application for Disposal of Security Bond has been signed, no further deductions may be made from the Bond.

    The document is then lodged with the Bond Administrator who would then be able to refund the security bond to the tenant within seven to 10 days. The Application Form permits bank details to be entered so that an electronic transfer can be made.

    It should be noted, however, that it can often take more than 10 days for the Bond Administrator to refund the money. If the Bond refund is being unreasonably delayed, tenants should contact the Department of Commerce directly to raise concerns.

    How much pet bond can be charged?

    The Residential Tenancies Act allows a further $260 to be collected in Bond if the tenant is permitted to keep a pet or pets on the premises that are capable of carrying parasites that can affect humans.

    The Pet Bond can only be applied to the cost of any fumigation of the premises that may be required at the termination of the tenancy.

    Most often this would apply to cats and dogs but is not confined to these animals alone.

    If the fumigation cost exceeds $260 then the tenant would be responsible for any excess. Pet Bond can only be charged once, irrespective of the number of pets being allowed.

    I believe I have been unfairly discriminated against. Where can I complain?

    If you believe that you have been denied a lease or had a lease terminated on unreasonable grounds, including but not limited to your gender, race, age, disability, sexuality, political or religious beliefs, ethnicity or marital status, then you can lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

    I don't agree with the final inspection and the proposed deductions to be made from my bond. What can I do?

    It is mandatory that at the start of the lease for the property manager to prepare a property condition report. The property is checked to determine if everything is working and clean and to note any existing damage or wear and tear, such as scuffed walls or a chipped bench top.

    At the final inspection when vacating a property the inspection happens one last time and a final property condition report is prepared and given to you within 14 days of the termination of the tenancy.

    The property should be in the same condition as shown on the original property condition report (with the exception of fair wear and tear).

    If the owner has any concerns then you would be approached in order to reach a resolution. If you don’t agree with the deductions to be made from your bond and you cannot resolve the issue with the owner through the managing agent, then the dispute would have to be resolved in the Magistrates Court.

    The magistrate would listen to both sides, examine any documents (property condition reports) and hand down a decision.

    To learn more about this process visit the Department of Commerce’s website.

    My landlord has defaulted on the mortgage and the banks have taken the property back. What do I do?

    Under the Residential Tenancies Act tenants must be given a 30 day notice if the bank has taken possession of the property because the owner has defaulted on mortgage payments.

    In this instance, you will have 30 days to find another rental or make other arrangements.

    During this 30 day period the tenant will not be required to pay rent.

    I think I'm 'blacklisted' on a tenancy database. How can I check this and change it if it's wrong?

    There are several tenancy databases that property managers can use around Australia.

    Mostly they make a note of those tenants who might have a really poor history in the rental housing system, e.g. if people have left a property owing the owner more money than is available in the Bond or if a court order terminated any previous residential lease agreements, this can be noted against their name.

    When property managers are considering applications from prospective tenants they will check names against these nation-wide databases to protect the interests of the owner.

    If you are listed on a database you will be advised through a formal notice by the person who intends on making the listing.  

    If you believe the information is wrong, outdated or misleading you can raise this directly with the particular company that owns and maintains the database.

    A legitimate 'black mark' will remain on the database for a three year period before being removed - similar to demerit points if you are a licensed driver.

    This is a standard agreement whereby the owner agrees to allow the tenant to occupy the owner’s property under specified terms and conditions.

    This is called a 'lease agreement' and it is mandatory that the content of the lease, as prescribed in the Residential Tenancies Regulations, is used.

    This form can be identified by “Form 1AA”. The Lease has three parts - Part A, Part B and Part C.

    The wording of Parts A and B cannot be altered or deleted.

    Part A specifies the variables:

    • The identity of the tenant, owner and the property.
    • The type of tenancy (fixed or periodic).
    • The amount of the rent, when and how it will be paid.
    • How many people are permitted to occupy the premises.
    • If pets are permitted.
    • Who is to pay for water consumption.
    • The amount of the security bond.

    Part B addresses the general rights and obligations under the lease.

    Part C is where the owner and the tenant come to an agreement on other conditions that may apply to the lease that have not been addressed in Parts A and B.

    The additional conditions in Part C cannot go against the conditions in Parts A and B, must not be illegal, cannot go against the Residential Tenancies Act nor the Regulations and must not breach the Fair Trading Act.

    While it is possible to find accommodation while you are outside of Australia, it would be easier to apply for properties when you are in Australia.

    When you first arrive consider taking on some short term accommodation so that you can determine which areas are best suited to your lifestyle and budget.

    Other useful documentation would be a rental reference from your current agent/owner and evidence of your recent past income, ie wages and salaries. If you have been paying a mortgage, then a record of those mortgage payments would assist in satisfying the agent of your payment history.

    Character references are not essential but can be helpful where appropriate, such as from a parent, tutor, guardian, employer, Justice of the Peace (Notary Public), GP, local police officer, Member of Parliament or church elder.

    If your application is successful and you progress to signing a lease agreement, you will need to prove your identity with a classic Proof of Identity 100 point check.

    Usually this means providing evidence such as a current passport, drivers licence, bank statements, utility bills in your name, citizenship certificate or a combination of these or other documents to establish your bona fides.

    In-going costs to rent a property in Western Australia would generally be two weeks rent in advance, a security bond equivalent to four weeks rent and sometimes the option fee.

    Where should I look for properties?

    These days most people use reiwa.com to find properties available to rent, however rentals can also be found in local newspapers.

    If you find a property that attracts your interest contact the real estate agency to learn about opportunities to view the property in person.

    What do I do once I find a property I'm interested in?

    After viewing the property you can then make an application for it using standardised forms. These will be provided by the property manager.

    The application form for a Lease Agreement will require you to confirm your identity, provide references and referees where applicable, provide evidence of your financial status and to commit to the terms of the agreement as explained to you by the owner or property manager.

    The application also provides you with the opportunity to put forward any special conditions you want included in the lease agreement as well as consider any special conditions the owner may want to include in the lease agreement.

    You may be asked to pay an Option Fee during the application process.

    What happens after I have sent through the application?

    Once the owner or property manager has considered your application, usually within one or two days, you will be contacted and advised of the outcome.

    If successful, you can then make arrangements to meet with the property manager to sign a Lease Agreement.

    You will also be required to pay two week’s rent in advance, plus a security bond. If you are permitted to keep a pet then your security bond can be increased by an extra $260.

    The tenant’s security bond is lodged with the Bond Administrator which is a section of the State Government’s Department of Commerce.

    Your rights and responsibilities are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

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