$3 million bond money owed

Tenants are being urged to lodge their bond forms as figures show Dunedin tenants and landlords are owed more than $3 million in bond payments.

Figures released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment showed that as of this week it was holding $3,072,803.37 in bonds it was unable to return to landlords and tenants in the Dunedin area.

The figure was made up of unclaimed bonds - which neither the tenant nor landlord had applied for - totalling $2,174,905.90 and uncollected bonds - which could not be given out because bank details had not been provided - totalling $897,897.47.

Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) president Francisco Hernandez said it was not surprising so much was owing.

''It's not a surprise to see a good number owing at this time of year as many students don't get around to sending their forms in until they get back together in February.''

He urged all tenants to ''take a few minutes'' to send their bond forms to the ministry.

''The landlord then has a set period to return a reply. If they do not, then the bond is released back to the tenants.

''We plan to inform students they can return the bond refund form without having the landlord sign it, which can sometimes be a hassle, and in 2013 we're pushing to inform more students of the power and ease of using the 14-day notice to ensure work is done around the more dodgy flats.''

Tenants and landlords can find out if they are owed bond money by calling 0800-TENANCY (836-2629).

 

Real world

And I accept, Hype.O.Thermia, that you are an arbiter of all that is Real. A delightful picture of Europe in the thirties, this lining tenants up. Note I didn't suggest such. When you call for comments, best not to tell people off for having a view with which you disagree. (On the QT, I was with the Socialists, last century).

'Who is living on the property?'

Tenants may be obliged to inform the landlord, or get approval for a different person to move in, but this is easy to say, less easy to enforce in real life. What does ffolkes suggest, line the tenants up for regular inspection at which they are compared with their photograph and have to give a signature to compare with the one on the lease and bond forms? And if one of the original tenants moves out and they get another one to take over his/her room, and the rent is still being paid regularly, there are no complaints from the neighbours and the property is kept in good condition, why would any sane landlord throw a hissy fit and throw them out for breaking a condition of tenancy, by not informing him of the change? This is the real world that most of us whether tenants or landlords live in.

Ad hoc tenants

Both landlords and renters are subject to the Residential Tenancy Act. If existing tenants dont 'bother' to inform the landlord of a change of tenant, doesn't the landlord make it his/her business to know who is living on the property?

Tenancy bond money

The bond system is a pain for all concerned. Tenants tend to trickle away before the tenancy is up, sometimes leaving an address, sometimes it's still the one on the original contract but their permanent (e.g. parental) address has changed in the meantime.

Money cannot be released to tenants or landlord, whether the tenants have left the place perfect or the landlord has considerable expense fixing damaged and clearing out their mess, until all have signed. Then there are the many cases where one person has left but a replacement tenant has been found for his/her room, often without bothering the landlord who does not normally line up tenants for regular inspection of both the house and the inhabitants to compare with photographs taken at the start of tenancy. The bond may have been paid from the newcomer to the out-goer, or both have forgotten about it.

I know there must have been problems in the past with landlords, well I suppose there must have been, unless the introduction of the compulsory bond lodgement system was a bureaucratic job creation initiative, but the fact is it does not work well. Sometimes tenants take the last weeks "rent-free" in anticipation of the return on their bond, which works fine when they have signed the forms allowing the landlord to claim all the money back and there is no damage beyond fair wear and tear found when the people and their possessions and posters on the walls have been removed.

Perhaps others can provide feedback from their own experiences as to whether the current system is better or worse than what preceded it.

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