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Property managers’ views on new online bonds

22 February 2017

Property managers have given their views on the new online bond-lodgement service which makes it mandatory for agents and landlords to invite tenants to sign a new lease using Rental Bonds Online (RBO).

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which came into effect on Monday 30 January 2017, also require landlords and agencies to be registered with RBO. However the paper-based method is still available for tenants who cannot access the internet.

NNW Property in Epping has implemented a new office procedure to comply. Their tenancy applications now include a factsheet on how to complete, return and lodge the bond online.

Successful applicants are also told about RBO on the phone and a confirmation email is sent based on their decision on how to lodge the bond.

NNW property managers also: 

  • Complete the preparation of lease form noting the bond lodgement type
  • Create and submit the online lodgement once the deposit is received
  • Finalise the lodgement online once the lease is signed
  • Print off the email advising the bond has been paid and attach this to the tenant's application.

General Manager Sandy Hodgkins said: “So far we have found the process quicker to lodge the bond online, but it is early days and we will learn more through trial and error.

“The only drawback we have found so far, is that tenants have to pay the bond within three days of receiving the confirmation link from the Rental Bond Board. If they don’t, we have to restart the process so they get sent another email from which they can pay the bond.

“Now we are aware of this we advise the tenant accordingly, but overall the feedback has been positive.”

Positive response from tenants

Gary Triganza, Property Manager at Miles Felstead Realty in Mosman took part in the pilot scheme with NSW Fair Trading and has been using the new RBO system for over a year with no problems.

Gary said: “We offer rental bonds online as the only option unless tenants ask for an alternative - and so far no one has asked. 

“The response we have had from tenants has been positive. The main benefit they see is that we don’t lodge the bond, which some tenants thought allowed us to control the situation, and it makes them feel more empowered.

“Lodging online is also much faster and more transparent.”

Some concerns have been raised that tenants can claim the bond before they leave through the RBO system, however Gary said they have not had any issues and that it is highly unlikely.

“I think if agencies have good systems in place and maintain a good relationship and effective communication with the applicant it will be a harmonious process.

“There could be an increased chance of a tenant withdrawing the bond early, but it is a small risk and if it did happen the agent would be able to dispute it. At worst it would go to NCAT, but this could still happen with the paper form, although it is less likely.”

Lyn Tamsett, Managing Director of K.G. Hurst Real Estate in Eastwood was approached four years ago when early discussions were taking place about moving rental bonds online and participated in a trial with the RBO towards the end of last year.

Lyn explained: “In the old days we used to receive cash, and then it was money orders, and this is the next logical step.

“By lodging the bond online tenants are not having to pay a bank fee to transfer the money like they used to and it goes straight to Rental Bond Board saving time and money.

“This also benefits the property manager too and we have not had any problems and it works really well for us. It is simpler to lodge a bond and we explain this new way to our tenants through an email and explain it to them very carefully in conversation.”

New tenant checklist updated

NSW Fair Trading has updated the new tenant checklist to include the changes to the RBO. 

For more information on Rental Bonds Online change which became mandatory on 30 January 2017, click here. The new tenant checklist is also available on the REINSW website to download here, or from REI Forms Live here.