New online system to eliminate rental bond red tape
When you rent a home in Western Australia the bond you pay is held in trust by the Bond Adminstrator at the Department of Commerce — currently that’s almost 200,000 bonds valued at about $360 million.
WA tenants will benefit from an expanded BondsOnline system, which will make it quicker and easier to get security bonds returned.
The new secure electronic transaction system for lodging bonds with the Bond Administrator eliminates the amount of paperwork required, reducing administration, data entry and printing costs to real estate agents and the Government.
The main benefit of the new system will be that most tenants will get their bond money back within 48 hours, once the tenant and agent have agreed on the amount to be returned and have approved the electronic transaction.
For tenants going from one rental to another it means less time being out of pocket with the quicker turnaround.
Previously there was an average wait of eight to 12 days, with some bond disposals taking up to a month under the paper-based processing system.
The new BondsOnline has been successfully trialled for the past five months by a group of real estate agents nominated by REIWA — who have provided extremely positive feedback.
They report eliminating the need to process paperwork increases efficiency and productivity of their business, while reducing costs and red tape.
The system has been designed so it can be easily integrated into an agency’s property management software.
Tenant advocacy group Tenancy WA has also expressed its support for the new system.
There are also cost savings for the Government, because less staff will be required at the Department of Commerce with reduced need for data entry and manual processes. Payments are made by automated electronic fund transfers.
BondsOnline operates in a similar way to online banking, with the real estate agent setting up the bond transaction for each tenant.
Each tenant logs into the system and confirms the transaction using their email address and mobile phone number as their unique identifiers, which replaces the need for paper forms.
There are safeguards in place to ensure that the bond money is only released when the agent and the tenant agree on the amount to be returned.
Any bond dispute will still need to be settled in the Magistrate’s Court.
There is more information about BondsOnline at commerce.wa. gov.au/bondsonline and general information about bonds is available at commerce.wa.gov.au/bonds or by calling Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54.