Changes to Revolutionize Victorian Lease Bonds
Victorian tenants will soon be able to pay their deposit directly to the Victorian Rental Tenancies Bond Authority as their online system undergoes a $9 million change.
The online system will also be integrated with systems used by real estate agents and is expected to enable faster deposit transfers and claims, as well as saving approximately $3.5 million per year in operating costs.
It will use Service Victoria’s identity verification and is expected to facilitate bond redemptions and loans, as well as changing bond details and claiming bonds online without paper forms or signatures.
Lisa Laffan, who previously rented a property in Queensland but now lives in Cobram, said the change would bring peace of mind to tenants.
“It’s also peace of mind for the tenant to know they’ve been paid and aren’t sitting in someone else’s bank account until they’ve been transferred to the tenant. surety agency,” she said.
Amanda Ramsay, property and commercial manager at Andrew Jenkins Real Estate, said it was “about time” for the RTBA to get an update in line with what other states were doing, including New South Wales. .
“That shouldn’t even be a problem with agents anyway, landlords pay agents to make sure these procedures are done correctly in the first place, and if you have a competent property manager it shouldn’t be a problem. problem or a need for change,” she said.
She said estate agents were legally required to post the bond and would be audited if it was not posted.
“Agents or renters will only need to carry out additional verification by checking the online portal to ensure the deposit has been received before handing over the keys, which we already do for our NSW properties.”
Ms Ramsay said it also gives tenants in private tenancy agreements, where no estate agents or agencies are involved, greater peace of mind.
“I’ve heard of tenants coming into some properties…then they move out and the landlords keep the bond and the tenants are screwed because the bond was never posted properly,” she said.
“I can see there are a lot of unreasonable landlords and for some tenants that can be a bit of a comfort.”
However, Ms Ramsay said it was a little early to say whether the change would be good or not without more information.
“If it’s just a case of agents still doing the housing and the tenants uploading the money directly then no problem, but if the tenants are going to do the housing themselves then yes I can see that that’s been a problem,” she said.
“Tenants don’t always fill in details correctly and may put in wrong details, which will create problems for rental management.”
Currently, tenants send money as a deposit directly to landlords or estate agents, who must then deposit the deposit with the RTBA; the responsibility for sending the deposit to the RTBA rests solely with the renters.
The March 2021 reforms allowed renters to go directly to the RTBA to recover all or part of their deposit without waiting for renters or agents to submit their claims or waiting for their agreement to do so.
The RTBA notifies renters and roommates once they have done so and gives them 14 days to contest.
Nearly 15,000 claims have been filed since the new law came into force, more than half of which have been paid directly to the tenant.
The Government of Victoria has already contracted 8Squad to work with the Department of Justice and Community Safety on the upgrade.