More than 196,000 bonds to the value of $161 million were refunded by the Department of Building and Housing last year. Getting a bond refund is a simple and speedy process, but irregularities in tenant details can result in frustrating delays.
Changes can happen during the course of a tenancy – say, a new tenant has moved in; one of the original tenants has moved out; or the rental property has been sold to a new landlord. If these details are not sent to the Department of Building and Housing then getting a bond refund or a transfer can turn into an ordeal.
‘To ensure a speedy bond refund it is important that that you let the Department know whenever there is a change. This will be especially important when sorting bond transfers or refunds at the end of a tenancy, or when new owners are about to take over a rental property. The Department has a form, available on the internet, that can assist you with this,’ says Jeff Montgomery, Manager Client Services.
Ongoing tenancies in rental properties are treated as new tenancies when a property is sold. So, as well as filing a change of landlord form, both the outgoing and incoming landlords should also complete and sign a bond transfer form to transfer the bond money from an old tenancy to a new one. The new landlord should then send it to the Department within 23 days. This is also an important time to complete a property inspection with the tenant.
’Good bond management means ensuring all the details of the parties, and their contacts, are correct from the outset on the tenancy agreement and in any subsequent forms filed,’ adds Mr Montgomery. ’Many bond refund delays are due to conflicting data we have received from the parties. This includes different signatures on forms for either party, incomplete bank account numbers for refunding, and even illegible forms. These all seem minor, but they can affect how bond refunds and transfers are processed further down the track.’
Information on lodging and managing a bond is available on the Department’s website – www.dbh.govt.nz.