The main takeaways from the 2020-21 Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) Annual Report (External link) are:
- The RTBA repaid 248,166 bonds (an average of 4,772 a week) compared with 239,175 in the 2019-20 financial year (an average of 4,600 a week)
- 99 per cent of bond claims were processed on agreement between the renter and the rental provider, and 1 per cent were made at the direction of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) or a court
- From all of the repayments, 68 per cent of bonds were returned in full to renters and 8 per cent in full to the rental provider, and 24 per cent of repayments were shared between the renter and rental provider
- From 29 March 2021, when the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the Act) was amended to allow renters to directly apply for their bond to be returned from the RTBA as part of a suite of new laws, to the end of June 2021, 1524 claims were initiated by renters and 72 per cent of these were repaid without objection or cancellation.
The figure revealing that 8 per cent of Victorian renters lost all their bond last year, while 24 per cent farewelled part of it, is a slightly better result than the previous 2019-20 financial year. In that year, 9 per cent of bonds were paid in full to the rental provider, and 26 per cent of repayments were shared between the renter and rental provider.
However, the 2020-21 numbers are still concerning as many renters report heavy reliance on receiving bond money back in full to secure their next rental property. It will be interesting to see how many renters make use of new laws that allow them to directly apply for their bond from the RTBA, and the success of this new pathway. Early indications are that this pathway is being utilised by renters with some success (as above).
Anika Legal has free legal support services (External link) to help guide renters through the steps involved with getting their bond back.
Tenants Victoria also offers free assistance to renters, and has general information on bonds on their website (External link).