The end of a tenancy is a common time for conflicts to possibly arise between the tenants and yourself regarding rental bond. More than half. More than half the disputes received by the RTA in the last financial year were about bond disputes.
By taking the time to get the entry inspection right and taking the time to get the exit inspection right these disputes can be avoided in most instances. It is important that you have clear and upfront communication with your tenant prior to the end of the tenancy so you can discuss your expectations with them.
As stated in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Section 188 (4)), tenants are expected to leave the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy with the exception of normal wear and tear.
Having open communication channels always is important, especially from the time the notice to leave is received up until when the bond is finalised. Direct the tenant to the RTA website to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations.
The 3 Vital Tips for a Successful Vacate Inspection
- Forward Planning – Provide the tenant with a copy of their entry condition report again, an exit condition report, and a detailed cleaning checklist. It would also be recommended to provide a list of recommendations of cleaners and carpet cleaners should they not want to clean the property themselves. Also pest control companies for flea treatments if a tenant has had a pet.
- Exit condition report – Remind the tenant that they have to complete the Exit condition report [Form 14a] as it is a requirement under section 66 of the Act. You can then compare it to that of the one filled in at the beginning of the tenancy. Encourage tenants to include photos to serve as supporting evidence if they wish. You will also need to complete your own exit inspection within 3 business days of the keys being received back for the property.
- Communication – Avoid tenancy disputes by maintaining clear and open communication. You must remind the tenant of any special terms in their tenancy agreement before the term ends. If there are any misunderstandings or disputes, you have a chance to straighten it out when you talk to the tenant directly regarding the issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the tenants claim that they left the property in a better condition than when they moved in?
In cases like these, it is important that you have a good Entry Condition report from the commencement of the tenancy along with clear photos taken at the start of the tenancy. The report and photos can provide solid evidence of the state of the property right before the tenant moved in.
Can a tenant place a claim on the bond after they have handed over their keys?
Yes. It is however encouraged that both the tenant and landlord submit an agreed bond refund (Form 4). In case one party submits a Form 4 without the other party’s signature, the RTA will inform the other party giving a set time frame in which that party can agree to the claim put forward or open the option of a dispute resolution process.
What if the tenant owes you more than the bond as they have failed to meet their responsibilities?
You can claim the bond by submitting a Refund of rental bond (Form 4) to the RTA. Inform your tenant of your plan of action. They may agree on a payment plan where they will pay directly to you for the money, they owed above the bond amount. Always remember that it is important to put any agreement in writing and sign it. An RTA dispute resolution process will begin if the tenant disputes the bond claim. If not, the RTA pays out the bond to you in agreement with your claim. If you want to claim money above the bond amount, you must submit a Dispute resolution request (Form 16). However, if this doesn’t resolve the issue, a Notice of unresolved dispute will be sent to you and you can apply for compensation via QCAT.
Can I insist that the tenant uses a professional carpet cleaner?
No. As stated in Section 171 of the Act, tenants cannot be forced to purchase a particular service. You can, however, provide options for the tenant in case they ask you to recommend a cleaner in the area. What is important is that tenants return the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy, excluding normal wear and tear.