16 Apr 2018 | Tenant Tips

Returning the Keys: Raising the Chances of Getting Your Rental Bond Back

Review Your Entry Conditions

From the moment you get the keys to your new rental property, you're working towards ensuring you get your rental bond back. Your rental bond protects your landlord, just in case you cause damage. To prevent losing your bond, here are simple steps you can take.

Review Your Entry Conditions

When you first get those keys from your landlord or a property manager take a tour around the house and review your Entry Condition Report. The condition report should feature a checklist of known defects, as well as the state of the property and any features that require maintenance.

During this tour, here are some ways you can protect yourself:

  • Take photos of each room.
  • If you see defects, take photos and raise the issue with your landlord or property manager.
  • Fill in your Entry Condition Report and return it promptly to your landlord or their manager.

Ensure you keep a copy of the ECR, plus any photos and discussions you have. Your landlord isn't out to take money away from you unfairly, but you do need some baseline evidence of the home's condition.

Always Report Maintenance Issues

Depending on where in Darwin you live, you may encounter maintenance issues that relate to your local environment. For example, older properties are more likely to encounter leaks and drips.

If a maintenance issue arises during your tenancy, let your property manager know as soon as possible. Maintenance issues must always be reported in writing (except in emergency situations). Keep a record of your communications and cooperate with them during the maintenance process. Similarly, before each inspection, run through the property yourself and see if there are any issues you wish to raise.

Return the Property in Great Condition

To get your bond back, make sure the property is in the same condition it was when you first moved into it. However, if you want to increase your chances even further, you may want to go the extra mile by:

  • Using a professional cleaning service, that specialises in rental property bond cleans, so that your landlord doesn't have to.
  • Checking commonly forgotten areas, such as ovens and store cupboards.
  • Repainting the walls, if necessary.
  • Replacing all broken or burnt out light bulbs and any other fixtures and fittings.
  • Painting over scuffs on skirting boards.

All homes experience normal wear and tear. As such, you may find it easier to address these problems as they arise. Once a quarter, go around your property and see if there are any issues with the state of your home. Compare it to your photographs and make adjustments accordingly.

Provide Your Landlord with Written Notice

Before leaving your property, you need to provide your landlord with written notice. You can't do this until your tenancy comes to an end, but when you do, you must give at least 14 days. The same rule applies if your fixed-term contract ended, but you're now on a periodic agreement.

While 14 days is the minimum, giving your landlord more notice works to your advantage. Two weeks isn't a long time, which means they may struggle to inspect your property and arrange the return of your bond as quickly as you need it. As such, you should work with your property manager or landlord about your intention to leave as soon as possible.

Here are some tips on creating a solid written notice. Make sure:

  • It is in writing.
  • It features your address.
  • Each tenant signs it.
  • It states your moving out date.
  • It lists your reasons for leaving.

At this stage, you can begin enquiring about the return of your bond. Your landlord or property manager will usually perform an inspection after you move out. As moving out is a messy process in itself, you may want to arrange for professional cleaning and painting once the removal team finishes.

Overall, maintaining clear, regular communication with your landlord or property management company is essential. With a careful approach, you'll receive your full rental bond, allowing you to use it for your next property.

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