“BOND BURGLARY”, the greatest heist of all

The latest statistics from Don't Rent Me show that a staggering 32% of all reviews in Australia include what tenants describe as false claims during and at the end of the lease that are designed to keep the tenants' deposit bond.

With 9 in 10 negatively geared houses being existing dwellings, it's not hard to imagine that many of the rented dwellings in Australia are quickly becoming dilapidated. Are landlords pulling off the greatest heist of all by using tenants' deposit bonds to maintain their ageing investments?

You would think this activity would be risky business for any real estate agent or landlord. What if they got caught out for making up claims in an attempt to effectively steal or otherwise deceptively obtain the tenants' deposit bond? Perhaps it is the thrill of pulling off something so risky and difficult that lures so many to try.

In fact, the reality is that there is no penalty other than a small amount of lost time.

For the few tenants who actually defend themselves at their state Tenancy Tribunal or Magistrates Court, they are surprised to find that there is no punishment for what, obvious to the tenant, is a blatant attempt at theft. It is simply passed off as a misunderstanding on the real estate agent's or landlord's part and everyone is free to go on their merry way.

It almost seems worth it! Except that it's disgracefully immoral, unjust, illegal and offenders should be identified and fined or otherwise punished.

Many tenants do not defend themselves due to a number of circumstances including Tenancy Tribunal & Magistrates Court fees (sometimes into the hundreds of dollars), loss of income, lost condition report, fear & mistrust of the judicial process and a lack of specific support, advice & representation for tenants, to name only a few. Tenants are guilty until proven innocent. It makes you wonder just how often this occurs behind closed doors...

Tenants also explain that real estate agent's and landlord's will often claim just enough so that it makes defending the claim financially unviable due to fees and loss of income. This could still range in the $500+ range or more depending on the fees and the tenants' income, information which the real estate agent and landlord are privy to knowing.

After spending some time reading reviews on the website it becomes quite evident that some real estate agents and landlords will use every excuse under the sun to try and substantiate a claim on part or all of the tenants' deposit bond.

"Shakira" writes:

Tried to keep our bond over a worn out patch of grass which we had stated on our entry report and a one cm patch of dust on top of a ceiling fan... read more

How can you protect yourself from bond burglary?

The Tenant Rights Party will introduce a National Tenancy Body with a mandate to handle tenant complaints, play an active role in dispute resolution, issue penalties to repeatedly offending real estate agencies & landlords and assist in the enforcement of tenant rights.

If it's fair that the state Fair Trading Departments will enforce the rights of retail consumers, then it is also only fair that the residential consumers (or tenants) are afforded similar protections under the act.

Please read about our National Tenancy Body, Anti Discrimination and Housing Affordability campaigns. We need you to join the fight for tenant rights!

1 Response

  1. Christie
    Wow, so great to see this article! And I'm equally pleased to see that someone out there is actively working to protect our rights as tenants!! I had a horrible experience with one house I rented recently. The house was 4 bedrooms upstairs, and a two bedroom flat downstairs. I leased the bottom flat to a woman who was single, and needed accomodation for herself and her horse. This worked out well as the property was on 5 acres with horse paddocks. So the both of us went on the lease together. One morning, we awoke to water flooding the house. The dishwasher hose had broken overnight and flooded the house. Real estate agent was called requesting an emergency repair, and we asked how to turn the main water off (it was tank water). No one could tell us as the property was rencently bought by a new owner. They said they would send a plumber out asap!! By midday, still no one came. We called again, telling them water was ruining our furniture and belongings- not to mention the home!!! They didn't send anyone out until 2pm that day!!! By then, the house was completely flooded and flooded into the downstairs flat. Then the real estate sent out flood repairmen. Who set up massive blowers (using my electricity) to run through the night. We were left to clean the mess. Then we were told due to the flood damage, we would have to move out as repairs needed to be carried out. We begged and pleaded to stay while the repairs were carried out, but they said they needed the house empty to do so. So we began packing, and so did the woman downstairs. We had to throw out a lot of things that were water damaged and do a heap of cleaning. The home had always been kept in immaculate condition- but the water just made a mess of everything. Now the flat was emptied, but the woman never did a thorough clean. I was left to clean it as best as I could on my own, as well as my upstairs place, as well as working and moving to my new place all on my own. I kept the real estate informed the entire time. For the final inspection- the agent came into the house with an attitude (she was a witch). She looked closely at things, and then would jot down notes. Now I chose to be there at the same time so that if there was anything she called us out on, I could fix it then and there. My bond on that house was a little under $2400 (rent was $580 per week). When I questioned what she was writing down- she replied: "I'm doing an inspection". I asked her why she wasn't letting me know what needs to be done, and she informed me that she had no obligation to! I was cross and left! This bond refund was to be divided between myself and the flat leasee. Then she sent me an email stating that a large sum was to be taken out of my bond for cleaning. When I questioned it- she said that the glass doors had finger prints (when pressed about this as I had cleaned them thoroughly)- it was two individual fingerprints!!! She said carpets needed recleaning- (downstairs flat), and the firewood was half empty. Now I asked if I could go back and remove the fingerprints and restock the wood pile- but she said that would be trespassing and I would be charged!!! I couldn't believe this woman!!! I told her I would be disputing the claims on my bond. Then, she called the leasee of the flat and asked her if she would come and sign the release of the rest of the bond. This horrible woman did- and stole my bond! I emailed the agent and asked her how she could release MY bond to the leasee of the flat without my signature. She said that she only needed one leasee signature to release the bond! She had done this because she knew that I was disputing the charges on my bond from the inspection! I was left with nothing! After I cleaned the entire place, did all the work, and this vindictive agent undercut me deliberately knowing I couldn't do a thing! I was so mad! I wrote emails to the owner of the real estate complaining about this property manager, but they were left unanswered. I've spoken to others since this- and they said they had the same problems with this woman. She apparently is the property manager from hell!! Now I know this for sure after my experience with her!

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