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Renters, landlords and real estate agents in Western Australian have all emerged as winners as a result of the new electronic transaction process for lodging and returning tenancy bonds.
Bonds Online was introduced by Consumer Protection in August 2015 where bonds could be electronically lodged with the Bonds Administrator.
The system was further developed to provide for eTransactions – aimed at eliminating the need for paperwork to achieve efficiencies for both real estate agents and the State Government. It also results in quicker refunds of bond monies to tenants and landlords and a reduction of red tape for industry and the public sector.
Since 1 September 2016 it has been mandatory for real estate agents to carry out bond transactions using the BondsOnline eTransactions service. Currently more than 96 per cent of new bonds lodged by real estate agents are transacted electronically. 58 per cent of refunds are also being transacted through eTransactions, with that percentage expected to increase over the next 12 months.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said that it is a credit to the real estate professionals that have now implemented the eTransaction system as part of their bond processing practices.
“Not only are they receiving efficiencies in their business, but families are benefiting from quicker refunds and significantly reduced red-tape costs,” Mr Hillyard said
“Most tenants who have their bond transacted via the eTransaction system now receive their bond money back within 48 hours, once the tenant and agent have agreed on the amount to be returned and have approved the electronic transaction.
“This is particularly helpful for tenants moving quickly from one rental to another as they will have less time needing to manage the outlay of two bonds before their previous bond is returned.
Previously, there was an average wait of eight to 12 days, with some bond disposals taking up to a month under the paper-based processing system.”
The eTransactions system and resulting quicker turnaround does not lessen the security of the bond money as there are safeguards in place to ensure that the bond money is only released when the agent and the tenant agree on to who and the amount to be returned. Any bond disputes still need to be settled in the Magistrates Court.
Not all West Australians are online or have access to the eTransaction system and issues remain especially in rural and remote locations that have limited internet or phone reception. So paper lodgements are still accepted in these circumstances
“Agents have also appreciated the benefits of the new eTransaction system with a reduction in the number of telephone calls from Consumer Protection requesting follow-up information which allows agents more time to concentrate on other areas of their business,” Mr Hillyard said.
“They also now have instant access to information for reporting and reconciliations
“For landlords, turning round the bond faster allows them to do any necessary repairs to their property and get it rented out again faster.
“Access to the BondsOnline service is currently limited to licensed agents and large private landlords but Consumer Protection is planning to develop the system to enable all landlords and their tenants to get the benefit of using the eTransaction system.”
Consumer Protection currently manages approximately 230,000 active bonds with a value of $358 million. This has increased from managing 114,360 active bonds with a value of $199 Million in 2011.
Since the introduction of electronic capabilities in 2015, approximately $192 million from 165,048 transactions have been lodged electronically by agents.
In August 2017 alone 12,059 transactions with a value of $18 million have been lodged and disposed electronically.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com