What’s a bond?

It’s a safeguard in the form of money you give to your landlord. If you get behind on rent or damage your flat, your bond will go towards cost recovery. If you don’t damage the flat and leave it reasonably clean and tidy, you’ll get your bond back when you move out. The landlord might ask each flatmate for an individual bond, or might get all the flatmates to pay one bond together.

How much do you have to pay?

The most you can be charged for bond is the equivalent of four weeks rent.

What happens to your bond?

When you pay it to your landlord, they give you a receipt, and lodge your bond with the Department of Building and Housing within 23 working days. The Department sends you a letter when they receive your bond. You can ring them on 0800 737 666 to check your bond has been lodged, or ask questions. If your landlord doesn’t do this, they are in trouble and you can ask for compensation.

How do you get your bond back?

When your tenancy ends, you or your landlord can apply to the Department of Building and Housing to get your bond refunded to you. If you and your flatmates have paid into one joint bond together, you may need everyone’s signatures to get it back. It can be tough to get everyone’s signatures when you leave Dunedin in November, but it’s never a good idea to fill in a blank bond. Come and see us at OUSA Student Support and we will work something out for you.

When can the landlord keep your bond?

The landlord has to give the OK before the Department of Building and Housing will give your bond back to you. The landlord can try to claim some or all of the bond if you break or take stuff from the flat, leave i
t dirty or have rent owing. However, a landlord can’t claim your bond to meet the costs of normal wear and tear to the flat.

How can you dispute this?

You might agree that the landlord is entitled to some or all of your bond – if so, you and the landlord sign a form together. If the landlord won’t agree to release your bond and you think that’s unfair, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have it sorted out. See OUSA Student Support for help with this.

Buying out someone else’s bond

If someone is moving out of a flat and you’re taking their place, it’s OK to buy out their bond – so long as you, the old tenant and the landlord fill in a Change of Tenant form and send it to the Department of Building and Housing. If you don’t send in this form, the Department of Building and Housing has no way of knowing that the bond lodged by someone else now belongs to you, so they won’t refund it to you.

I need to know more!!

For more about bonds, visit dbh.govt.nz/tenants-index or ring the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 836 262.