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Changes to bond refunds by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)

Posted by HiRUM Software Solutions -08/01/2021
handing over keys | changes to RTA bond refund process | HiRUM

Queensland’s Residential Tenancies Authority is modernising its system for bond lodgement, refunds and disputes along with a number of other enhancements. In addition, there are changes relating to COVID-19 put in place by the Queensland Government to help the residential rental sector transition back to normal tenancy arrangements. Read more about the changes to the RTA bond refund process below:

The RTA made a series of service delivery changes mid-2019 designed to streamline tenancy management processes including the launch of its Web Service. The changes include a ‘fast track’ process for RTA bond refunds. More than two thirds of all bond refund forms submitted have already been agreed to by all parties and the new online bond refund service is a convenient digital alternative to paper forms that speeds up the process significantly. It also helps eliminate delays caused by paper forms being illegible or incorrectly completed. In fact, the whole process can now be completed online in a matter of minutes.

Where all parties do not agree, the new online service also provides the option to fomally dispute the proposed refund and ask for free support from the RTA. In addition to digitising the bond refund process, the new online services allows customers to update their contact and bank details online too, removing the need for paper forms to be completed.

If you are a property manager, it is expected that the RTA will be introducing a Bulk Bond Lodgement Web Service for managing parties in 2021. This Web Service will allow managing parties to lodge and pay for multiple bonds online in a single transaction. Encouraging your tenants to use the online single bond refund or lodgment service will significantly reduce the admin work required by property owners or managers.

While the RTA is now paperless and has stopped bulk printing of forms and publications, you can still order single paper forms online. However, everyone is now encouraged to use the online service.

COVID-19 Changes

The Queensland Government has extended some of the arrangement put in place at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, until 30 April 2021. These include:

  • protections for tenants against being listed in a tenancy database for rent arrears caused by COVID-19 impacts
  • provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly
  • limits on reletting costs for eligible tenants who end their fixed term tenancies early
  • short term tenancy statement extensions for moveable dwellings
  • entry restrictions and requirements to support COVID-19 social distancing measures
  • relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.

However, there are a number of provisions originally put in place that have now been rescinded from 30 September 2020.  T he 6 month eviction moratorium on COVID-19 rent arrears ceased to apply from this date as well as some of the measures put in place to support it including:

  • fixed term agreement extensions for COVID-19 impacted tenants
  • ending agreement provisions that prevent property owners ending tenancies with COVID-19 impacted tenants without grounds and provide additional grounds for parties to end tenancies (owner occupation and sale of premises which require vacant possession)
  • adjusted rent and bond processes that support parties to negotiate arrangements to manage COVID-19 impacts on their tenancies
  • mandatory conciliation of COVID-19 related tenancy disputes through the RTA.

The RTA client portal also allows people to manage and track their bonds online and as a property manager you can also use the HiRUM software to process a bond to your tenants.

 

This article was originally posted on 3rd Aug 2016 and has been updated on January 8th 2021 with the latest information.


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