For many renters, the fear of not getting their bond back when they move out is real.
It doesn’t have to be an impossible feat. After all, that deposit is essentially your money as the tenant, held as security against any repairs or reparations that might need to be carried out at the end of your tenancy; so the best way to have it returned is to proactively ensure that you leave the property as you found it.
Here are some ways you can make sure your rental bond money goes back into your wallet — where it belongs.
Store lease documents given to you by your property manager when you moved in, in a safe, handy place. They will not only contain a record of the state of each room at the time, but might also include information about your tenancy and what you will need to do for a clear exit. Complete the tenants’ section in the checklist and send it to or go through it with the property manager so you are both on the same page. Most agencies will expect you to report any issues within the first seven days.
It is your home, but it also belongs to someone else, so care needs to be taken to avoid unnecessary damage. While some wear and tear is expected, especially over a long tenancy, other damage such as holes, scratches and broken fittings will need to be repaired. Use removable hooks for hanging artwork and felt pads to protect wooden floors from scratches. It’s always a good idea to ask the owner for approval before hanging any items on the wall.
Take time-stamped photos or a video of the property when you first move in, noting anything that is ‘less than perfect’. This will give you and the agent a base to work with. Likewise, keep a record of each time you report maintenance issues. Whenever reporting maintenance requests through a reporting system that sends you a confirmation. Reporting maintenance is easy with our new maintenance platform called TAPI using the live chat feature. Everything is reported and documented in one place.
Liaise with the landlord or property manager
Once you have given notice, you will know how long before you need to vacate the property, but it is also important to keep your landlord or property manager in the loop. Just a quick conversation serves as both confirmation and courtesy, and will allow you to make a convenient time for the final inspection.
Engaging a professional cleaner at the end of the tenancy can take the stress out moving and cleaning at the same time. Most cleaners offer a warranty and will return to rectify any issues. Saving you time and stress, after all, they do this for a living.
Having to engage professional cleaners after the tenant has vacated is one of the most common reasons agents don’t return the bond in full, so plan to do a serious deep clean beyond simply vacuuming and dusting if you want all your bond back.
This will include the windows and windowsills, doors and walls, but also more obscure places such as shelving, light switches, door frames, and blinds, as well as behind doors and inside cupboards.
Expect to spend extra time cleaning the kitchen. The oven, stove, sink, dishwasher always take longer than you might think, and the walls will need wiping down to remove accumulated cooking grease.
Arrange to have carpets shampooed, preferably after everyone has moved out, so that the house looks and smells spotless for handover.
Stage a mock inspection
If you (and they) have time, ask your agent or landlord if they would mind doing a preliminary inspection with you, a few days before you hand back the keys. This will not only allow you time to fix anything so you don’t lose money, but will give you a better idea of what is your responsibility or the landlord’s. Once you know who’s responsible for what, you can fix any issue that occurred during your occupancy.
If the agent doesn’t have the time, invite a friend over and go through your move-out checklist together. You could be surprised by how many things you might have missed.
Do necessary repairs
Repairs like replacing light bulbs, filling holes and unclogging drains are small things that make a big difference. The landlord will definitely appreciate the work done and will be less likely to claim deductions from the bond.
When cleaning scuff marks off walls, take care not to remove any paint. Magic Eraser works wonders and is readily available at most hardware stores.
If thinking about the process of getting your bond back is daunting, rest assured that it doesn’t need to be. With some planning and clear, considerate communication, you should find yourself out of the house with your rental bond intact and ready for your new home.