Departments combine to target landlords who don’t lodge tenancy bonds
Consumer Protection and the Department of Communities are joining forces to target landlords who fail to lodge tenancy bonds that were provided through a rental assistance program.
Under the Bond Assistance Loan Scheme offered by the Department of Communities, eligible Western Australians can apply for an no interest and fee free loan to cover ingoing property costs (including all or part of the bond and up to two weeks’ rent in advance) to assist them to obtain accommodation in the private rental market.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act administered by Consumer Protection, landlords must lodge tenancy bonds with the Bond Administrator within 14 days.
Matching the data held by both agencies has uncovered a concerning number of cases where the landlord or real estate agency has failed to lodge the bond.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the cooperation between both Departments means those who haven’t complied with the law can expect to be contacted.
“The data matching has allowed us to more easily identify bonds that are not being held by the Bond Administrator and will allow us to take action against landlords or property managers who have failed to comply with the law, both past and present,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Bond money is held securely in trust by the Bond Administrator and any delay in depositing these funds may put them at risk. There is absolutely no reason why bond money cannot be lodged within the 14 day period or sooner, especially since the new Bonds Online eTransactions system has become available to all agents.
“Offenders may face a $2,000 infringement notice or, if the matter goes to Court, they could face a fine of up to $20,000 for every breach.
“I urge all landlords and property managers to check their records and ensure that any bond monies being held are transferred to the Bond Administrator immediately. Tenants should get a notification that their bond has been lodged so, if they haven’t received this, they should contact Consumer Protection and let us know.”
More information on lodging bonds can be found on the Consumer Protection website or on the iRentWA app that is available for free. Enquiries by either landlords or tenants can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 853 829.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com
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