When your rental agreement ends it can be a stressful time. Especially if you were not planning to move out of the house in a hurry.
There are many things to take care of which depend on what you plan to do next. You could decide to start looking for a property to purchase or find another rental property to move into. Whichever option you choose, having access to more finance can definitely be a plus. One of the best ways to do this is by getting your bond back.
At the end of your rental agreement, you should be entitled to your bond refund. This amount of money should add up to four weeks of your rent. But you have to fulfil your rental agreement to receive your bond back. In some cases, your landlord may be eligible to keep a portion or even all of your bond refund.
If you don’t want to end up in this scenario there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you get all of your bond back.
Follow these 9 steps & you’ll have a better chance of getting your bond back.
Review your initial condition report
Before you signed your rental agreement you should have been given a condition report. This type of report outlines the condition of the house before you moved in. Ideally, your rental property should be in the same condition as what’s outlined in the condition report. This is just one of the many requirements you will need to fulfil to get your bond back.
As you vacate the rental property, your property manager will use the same condition report. They will reference this report and check to see if the rental property you have been living in matches the same condition. One of the easiest ways to compare the rental property is to go room by room. Ideally, you want the rental property to look neat and tidy. If the property was messier in the report than what it is now then there’s a good chance the rental property will pass the inspection carried out by your property manager.
Recognise the difference between wear and tear and proper damage
While you’re inspecting the rental property again you may take note of things that look damaged. You may initially think that it’s your responsibility to get them fixed. In some cases, there’s really no need for you to repair things yourself. Sometimes this damage can be a result of wear and tear. Sometimes no matter how much you take care of a property and its features there will be things that wear out regardless.
So as you inspect items around the house try to recognise the things that you may have unintentionally caused damage to and which ones you haven’t. These are things that require your attention. If you are unsure of what items require you to repair or replace them, consider talking to your property manager. Make a list of all the items you’re unsure of and take note of them when your property manager can confirm what needs to be fixed or repaired by you.
Meet your obligations as a tenant
There are set rules and guidelines you need to follow which are outlined in the Tenant Act. One of the most important rules is that you should provide your landlord with correct notice if you choose to vacate the property. If you fail to notify your landlord and property manager that you’re leaving before the rental lease ends, you could pay additional costs. Say for example you choose to vacate the property two weeks before the lease is up. You may end up losing two week’s worth of rent from the bond to help pay for it.
If you have any outstanding bills such as water or electricity, it is your responsibility to close these accounts. They must all be paid up by the time you vacate the property. If these bills are not paid then it’s likely your landlord will look to use your bond to pay these off too.
Using professional help
One of the essential tasks you need to do for retaining your bond is leaving the house spotless. Read your lease agreement carefully which specifies how the property should be left. It may state that the house needs to be professionally cleaned. This cleaning requirement is very common among houses with carpet floors. The lease agreement may include that all the carpeted floors need to be professionally steam cleaned.
Another common item that pops up in lease agreements is a pest treatment. This is commonly added to a lease agreement when the tenant has had pets in the house. A pest treatment is one of the most effective methods for completely cleaning a house of any odours and pests that may be lying around as a direct consequence of the pets living there. Tasks such as pest treatments, carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and gardening are all best left to the experts. A professional will be highly skilled and qualified enough to carry out these tasks to a high enough standard. While hiring professional help can prove costly, it will almost guarantee you won’t lose your bond as a result of the cleaning.
Clean all appliances and fixtures
As you make your plans to vacate the property it’s important to look at all the appliances and fixtures that are part of the house. If these items will remain in the house then it’s important they are all thoroughly cleaned. Try going around the house and making a list of all the potential items that need to be fixed.
Common appliances that can be left behind include the oven and the dishwasher. These are essential appliances that need to be thoroughly cleaned. If you don’t have the confidence to do it yourself then this is another job you can definitely rely on for a professional to do. Fixtures around the house include doors, window frames and the vents attached to all the conditioners and heaters. It is often expected that these fixtures are also cleaned up to the point where there’s no excess dust, grime, or rust on them.
Leaving by the right date
While most tenants plan to leave by the last date on their rental agreement, there are scenarios that may force them to stay for a few days longer than their lease. Doing this can incur extra rental charges. If you are unable to pay these rental charges then there’s a good chance the landlord will make up for the extra days by taking money out of your bond.
If you do leave things behind with no intention of taking them with you there’s a good chance you could end up paying for these too. Your landlord could be forced to pay for a removalist or rubbish disposal specialist to get rid of your leftover belongings. As you can imagine, the costs for these removalist services and rubbish disposal could be financially covered by your bond.
Returning all keys and necessary household items
As you are vacating your property, it’s essential that you leave behind all the keys you initially had for the property. These keys can include the ones used for the garage, shed, windows, side gate, and the doors to the house. Your property manager will reach out to you to arrange an agreed time when the keys can be submitted.
If you fail to hand over the keys this can incur additional costs. Again this is another way your property manager can take away a portion of your bond. While a house key is relatively easy to replace, think about the pricier ones like a garage roller door key. The cost of replacing these can be taken off your bond. It’s also a good idea to be upfront with your landlord if you do lose a key. This helps to maintain a better relationship with your landlord and property manager.
Be there for the final inspection
Before you leave your rental property, there will be some final inspections. One of the final inspections will involve your landlord and property manager having one last look over the house before you leave. This final inspection is done to assess the condition you’re leaving the property in. Ideally, it’s best if you attend this final inspection. In the unlikely case the landlord and property manager point out any issues, you will have the chance to explain them.
In some cases they may point out fixtures or other parts of the house that just haven’t been cleaned properly. In this case, it may also be a good idea to bring cleaning equipment with you. With the right equipment on hand, you can quickly carry out any additional cleaning tasks so they’re done and out of the way. Alternatively, you can discuss what’s left to be cleaned up and how you can organise a professional cleaner to take care of things.
Understand the process for getting a bond refund
One of the best things you can do to get your bond back is to understand the entire process. One of the essential steps for getting your bond back involves filling out a form for claiming your bond back. Getting your bond back is not an automatic process, so it’s important you take the initiative to start it off. Before you fill out the form it’s also important to confirm the exact amount you’re requesting to get back. Once the form is filled out you need to send it directly to your property manager.
In the bond request form, you will need to outline all the financial details required for your bond to be transferred back to you. These details will include the bank account and your personal contact details. If you and the property manager cannot agree on a bond refund amount then you may have to attend a mediation or tribunal to sort the issue out. During one of these two scenarios, you will be asked to provide evidence that justifies the bond amount you are after.
Looking for a new rental property? Ask Property Managers Melb about properties up for lease in your local area.