Tougher action planned for late lodgement of bonds: Real estate bulletin issue 128 (November 2016)
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As of 1 December 2016 Consumer Protection will take a harder line when agencies do not lodge residential tenancy bonds within the required time.
Section 29 of Residential Tenancies Act 1987 states the lodgement of security bonds with the Bond Administrator must occur as soon as practicable or within 14 days of being received from the tenants. A delay in lodging bond money puts the funds at risk.
In the three months up to 31 October 2016, agencies lodged 945 security bonds with the Bond Administrator, outside the prescribed time frame. Of even greater concern is that over 250 of the lodgements were made more than 30 days after receipt.
The Commissioner is most concerned with the extremely high number of late security bond lodgements and intends to focus on this area more heavily to ensure compliance.
Education and formal warnings will be used where appropriate but the use of $2,000 infringement notices as an enforcement tool will be considered for anyone with a history of late lodged bonds.
In the more serious instances offenders may face prosecution or disciplinary action where they may pay a fine of up to $20,000.
The Bonds Online eTransactions system has made the bond lodgement process easier, quicker and more efficient. Agencies are urged to review their current bond processing practices and ensure they are in line with their legal obligations.
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