How to avoid bond disputes at the end of tenancy

According to the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms in ACT, tenants are expected to return the property in “substantially the same condition and level of cleanliness it was in at the beginning of the tenancy (as noted in the condition report), allowing for fair wear and tear. You cannot be made to improve the property”. Here we focus on discussing the cleanliness of the property.

In most cases, the agent or landlord can act in an collaboratively manner and finalise the tenancy fast and smoothly, however we can’t rule out circumstances that agent or landlord pushes boundary and raises unreasonable requests. For example, we have seen a property manager who does not trust the tenant’s choice of cleaners and sends her own “preferred cleaners” in without notifying the tenant, but demands payment afterwards, and the bill is very expensive compare to the market. Another case is that a landlord asks the tenant to remove the oil stains from the driveway even though they were there before the tenancy. Unfortunately the tenant turns around to us demanding the service even though he did not pay for the service, simply because the landlord seems like a decision maker who is holding the bond whereas we seem to posses a weaker bargaining position in the relationship. Also we have seen an agent using wet baby bottom wipes to check all the kitchen appliances and cupboards, her standard is that if there is tiny little discolouration on the wipe, then it is classified as not clean.

So in summary you should

  • Know the pre-tenancy condition of the property, to determine if the cleaning request from agent/landlord is reasonable
  • Know your rights, the agent/landlord should act diligently to carry out the inspection and provide feedback in a timely manner. Because dirt and dust can build up quickly, on windows, country yard and balcony if it is an apartment, especially in bad weathers.
  • Notify the cleaning company you engaged with if there are any issues they are responsible for. Most cleaning companies have a certain guarantee period, like our guarantee period is 3 days. If the cleaning company is notified 2 or 3 weeks later, whether it is due to the agent/landlord or the tenant themselves, most probably the cleaners won’t agree to return and fix.

A useful site to provide free information on tenants’ rights is http://www.tenantsact.org.au, make sure you read through it and know your rights and obligations.

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