The latest news for New Zealand Landlords and Tenants
At the beginning of a new tenancy, you have the option to collect and lodge a bond. A bond acts as a security deposit if:
- the tenant causes damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
- the tenant fails to pay rent.
- you want to make any claim(s) relating to the tenancy.
Here’s a quick overview of exactly how to go about collecting and lodging a bond.
Setting the bond
The maximum bond amount is up to four weeks’ rent.
If the rent increases during a tenancy then the landlord is able to ask for more money towards the bond. For example, if rent increases by five-dollars and the bond was 4 weeks’ rent then the landlord can ask for 20 more dollars. The tenant can also request to have money refunded from the bond if the opposite situation occurs and rent decreases.
Essentially, the more you make a bond, the more you’re protected against. Keep in mind that if the tenant does a good job of looking after your property, and they keep up with rent, then there’s no reason they should not receive a full bond refund.
Collecting the bond
Before collecting a bond, remember that the bond amount needs to be set out in the tenancy agreement.
You can then arrange with your tenants how you would like to collect the bond. This could be:
- as a cheque
- as an electronic transaction
The best way to go about this is to have a bank account ready to receive the bond payment from each tenant. This keeps everything in the same place. It also means that everyone has a record of when they paid the bond, and you can easily see if you have the bond in its entirety. This also means you can lodge the bond online if you wish, and it’s going to be much easier to make sure that you lodge the bond within the required timeframe.
Bond lodgement form
Before you can actually lodge the bond, you’re going to need to fill out:
- a bond lodgement form.
- And, if you have more than 3 tenants, you will also need to use the additional tenants bond lodgement form.
Once you’ve filled out the relevant forms, and have included the details of all of your tenants, you can scan and upload the documents to lodge the bond online. It is also a good idea to keep a digital copy incase something happens to the original.
Lodging the bond
Once you receive the bond money, you are legally required to lodge the bond with Tenancy Services within 23 working days – regardless of whether you pay the money in one lump sum, or in separate payments.
You can do this online through the Tenancy Services website, or you can send a cheque to Tenancy Services. If you send a cheque, you need to:
- make the cheque out to Tenancy Services.
- provide an address for both yourself and your tenants, in order to receive letters about the tenancy.
- include a completed bond lodgement form.
Now you can sit back and relax. You don’t need to worry about the bond until the end of the tenancy – when you’ll need to go through the process of applying for a bond refund. Until then, feel secure in knowing that you’ve got that extra protection should you ever need it.