I WAS chatting to a one of our tenants this week, like most people he was telling me how well he had looked after the place and that it was way better now than when he moved in. He was in the process of moving out and he wanted to make sure he was going to get his full bond back. So I gave him my advice.
When it comes time to leave your rental property there are some things that all tenants should know in order to get their full bond back.
The first starts back at the beginning of the lease. Once you signed your lease and take possession of the keys the clock starts ticking. You have three days to review your entry condition report (ECR) and alert your agent to any discrepancies. I always advise tenants to take lots of photos, make notes on the ECR and ensure you return it within the allocated time. This could save you thousands at the end of your lease.
Throughout the tenancy, advise your agent of any maintenance issues, even if they don’t bother you. Most tenants are surprised to know that their lease stipulates that they must advise the landlord of any maintenance. This stops a small problem becoming a major job eg. A small water mark in the ceiling becoming the entire roof caving in from built up water damage.
Use the real estate agent’s recommended cleaner when it’s time to go. A bond clean is quite expensive. So if you are going to engage a cleaner let the agent appoint them. That way if the property manager is unhappy with the standard of cleanliness then they can deal with the cleaner directly with no extra costs to the tenant.
You must return the property to the same standard that it was handed to you, barring any fair wear and tear. This barring any fair wear and tear is the source of many arguments but essentially it’s any damage that is caused by simply using the property in the way it was designed to be used, for example wear to carpets from walking on them.
Handing back the property incorrectly can cost thousands. You can’t just simply leave when your lease is up. If you have a lease you are bound to pay rent and look after the property for the entire period of the lease. Once that fixed term lease is finished, if no notice is given, then the lease becomes a periodic lease commonly known as a ‘month-to-month’ lease.
You must provide written notice to the landlord that you are leaving. In Queensland this is a minimum of two weeks before you intend to leave, accepting that you can’t just give two weeks mid lease, it needs to be no less than two weeks before the end of your lease or once it becomes a periodic.
Possession is often decided on as when the keys are returned. Giving notice and leaving, without returning the keys, can mean the rent keeps ticking over. So don’t just drop them on the bench and leave! Take them to the landlord or agent, ask them to photocopy them and everyone should sign an acknowledgment that they have been returned.
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