There comes a time in every student’s life that they dread. No, not exams—we’re talking about when it’s time to move out of your accommodation. You paid a lot when you moved in, and you want to make sure you get reimbursed the full amount of the security deposit that you paid when you move out, so we’ve got some tips for you so you can make sure you get your bond back.
Read your lease
Read it carefully. Make sure everything that’s in there is reasonable, and so you know what to expect. It might say the ceilings need to be cleaned at the end of your tenancy, or the windows have to be cleaned inside and out, so it’s a good thing to check to make sure of your obligations before you start living there.
Fill out the property condition report accurately
As soon as you move in. Include everything. It may take some time, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Take photos of the property yourself
Paying special attention to any cracks, anything broken, any missing fittings. Send a copy of these to your property manager.
Fix issues as they arise
If you break something, arrange for your landlord to fix it as soon as possible. Or, if it’s in your agreement, fix it yourself. For example, if you break a window, don’t wait until you move out for the landlord to fix it—let your landlord know immediately. You may have to pay to get it fixed, but if you can arrange the quote it’s generally going to be cheaper than if the real estate company has to get one.
Make sure you pay all your rent
We know that it isn’t always possible to pay your rent on time, every time, but just be sure that you do pay it. This way it won’t be deducted from your bond when you vacate the property.
Don’t lose the keys!
Lost keys can come out of your bond, so be sure to return all sets of keys that you were given at the start. If you do lose a key, be sure to get a spare key cut as soon as possible.
Clean during your tenancy
It may sound obvious, but it’s a lot easier to remove a stain if you get onto it right away than if you leave it until the week before you move out. It might not be fun at the time, but ensuring you keep the place in good condition while you’re living there can save you hours of hard, boring work in the long run.
Give proper notice that you’ll be leaving
If you break the lease early and haven’t paid the break fee, you might be liable to have that taken out of your bond. Do the right thing and notify your landlord, in writing, within the given timeframe stated in your contract.
Normal wear and tear on a property is okay
After all, you’ve been living there, not renting the place just for show. Faded curtains, flaking paint, a worn kitchen bench top, or thin cracks in the walls from building movement are all considered normal damage. Smudges on the walls, burn marks on the carpet, wine stains in the floor, and an overgrown garden (if you have that luxury) are not. Give the whole place a really good clean, to a professional standard, when your lease is up and you should be okay.
Give yourself time to clean
When you’re moving out, don’t leave it to the last minute—work out a plan of attack, and go for it. It’s much less stressful if you spend your whole last week carefully cleaning than if you rush around on the last day trying to get things done. Clean the windows inside and out, clean all exhaust fans, wipe down the skirting boards, and don’t forget the oven. While a tough job, having a clean oven can mean the difference between the full bond, and shelling out a hundred dollars for a professional oven clean.
If all else fails, consider the professionals
If you think you can’t clean your accommodation to a professional standard, get a professional cleaner in. Getting a quote for one yourself will save you quite a bit of your bond, as cleaners used by real estate agents will generally charge more money. Make sure you get a receipt from the cleaners too, so you can prove that you had the cleaning done.
Moving out doesn’t have to be stressful. Give these eleven tips a shot, and you should be able to get your full bond amount back.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN YOUR STATE:
ACT – Tenants’ Advice Service
If you have a renting question or problem in Victoria, visit Consumer Affairs Victoria – International Students or call on 1300 55 81 81.