Question from Irena updated on 21st October 2019:
As a landlord (with not much experience) by law I have to lodge the tenants bond with Tenancy Services within 23 working days. To do this and release it takes a lot of time and paper work and sometimes headaches as people on forums say. Many landlords simply don’t do it. Are there any fines or legal prosecution involved in not doing this?
Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:
Any bonds received should be lodged with Tenancy Services within 23 working days of receiving the bond. Not doing this is an unlawful act and a landlord who fails to lodge a bond may be liable to pay up to $1,000 for each bond that is not lodged.
The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team may investigate breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act (including bond lodgement) and ensure that landlords that fail to lodge bonds within 23 working days’ timeframe are held to account.
An Invercargill landlord was ordered to pay a total of $38,713.76 in exemplary damages and costs for failing to lodge 54 bonds. Landlords can now lodge individual bonds online on the Tenancy Services website. They will need to complete a bond lodgement form and have it signed by every tenant who has an interest in the bond.
The same people who sign the bond lodgement form need to sign the bond refund form when the tenancy ends. If these signatures don’t match, there will be delays processing the bond refund. As long as everyone has signed and are in agreement at the end of a tenancy, then there should not be any difficulties with the processing of a bond refund.
The requirements are different for boarding houses if bonds paid are equal to one weeks rent or less.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.