Landlords warned to comply with the law after a conviction and $10,000 fine (Mark Adam)
Consumer Protection is warning landlords who manage their own rental properties in WA to comply with their legal requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act or face being prosecuted.
The warning follows a court case on 21 March 2019 in the Perth Magistrates Court where landlord Mark Alasdair Adam, formerly of Bayswater but now residing in Sydney, was convicted in his absence and fined $10,000 after failing to lodge tenant bonds from two separate tenants who were living in a Phoenix Road, Hamilton Hill duplex. He was fined $5,000 for each offence and ordered to pay $3,775.10 in costs.
In July 2016 Mr Adam collected a $1,600 bond from a tenant at one of the duplexes and in August 2016 collected the same amount from tenants living next door. After almost three years, neither bond has been lodged with the Bond Administrator in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act. He then kept the Bond monies after the tenancy ended without the agreement of those tenants or having received a court order.
Landlords are legally required to lodge bonds with the Bond Administrator. This must be completed as soon as practicable after receiving the funds but take no more than 14 days.
Magistrate Wilson acknowledged that the law is designed to protect the security of the funds by having a place to store them which is separate to both parties so they are disposed of appropriately at the end of the tenancy.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the non-lodgement of bonds is unacceptable.
“Bond money is held securely in trust by the Bond Administrator and any delay in depositing these funds puts them at risk,” Mr Hillyard said.
“There is absolutely no excuse why bond monies are not lodged with the Bond Administrator nor any reason why they cannot be lodged within the 14 day period or sooner.
“Landlords who choose not to engage a real estate agent to manage their property should ensure they are aware of the laws that apply to them, especially for the lodgement of bond monies, property condition reports, a tenants right to quiet enjoyment and property inspections.
“Landlords can face criminal convictions and fines of up to $20,000 if they violate these important aspects of tenancy law.”
Consumer Protection provides publications, including an eBulletin advice service for both property owners and tenants. More information on the Residential Tenancies Act is available on the Consumer Protection website or enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com
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