Forged signature for bond refund

Question from Bill updated on 5th June 2012:

I have my property managed by a third party property management company. My previous tenant abruptly stop paying rent and moved out without notification leaving behind thousands of dollars of damage. The only comfort to me is that there is still three week worth of rental bond with the Department of Building and Housing. My property management company assures me that I can get my three weeks of bonds back after a Tenancy Dispute Tribunal session. We have shockingly found the bond had already been cashed out by my ex tenant using a bond refund form with a forged signature! The case was reported to police and a criminal investigation was opened. But I can't help wonder that even if my ex tenant is caught, there is good chance they won't have money to repay my loss. Can I ask the Department of Building and Housing to reimburse my loss?

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) will refund a bond upon receipt of a bond refund form signed by both parties or upon receipt of a Mediated or Tenancy Tribunal order. Where signatures on the bond refund form do not match what is on file, the DBH will write to the other party to confirm the payment. Where signatures do match but have been signed fraudulently, parties are encouraged to contact the Police (as you have done).

Whether the DBH reimburses you for your loss is likely to depend on a number of factors including the outcome of any criminal investigation. Contact the DBH on 0800 836 262.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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