How to get your bond back at the end of your tenancy

May 14, 2020



Getting your bond back at the end of a rental property tenancy is an important part of moving to a new house. Some tenants depend on their money being refunded in full to help them cover moving costs, while some overlook this vital step when ending their tenancy because they’re unsure how to apply for a bond refund.


Who holds my bond and why?

The bond payment tenants make when they move into a rental property helps protect the owner if the tenants cause damage during their tenancy and fail to leave the home in an acceptable state for future tenants (forego their responsibilities outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act).

Bond for a residential rental property is often the equivalent of up to four week’s rent (although this can vary), and the collected payment is held by The Department of Building and Housing.

Tenants are sent a written confirmation when the payment is received, including a bond lodgement reference number.

It’s unlawful for landlords to hold their tenants’ bond themselves. If you don’t receive a confirmation letter from The Department of Building and Housing within a few weeks of paying your bond — speak to your landlord or property manager.


How do I get my bond back?

One of the benefits of renting through a property management company is that they will have checks and processes in place to help you stay on top of things like your bond refund.

When we know a fixed term tenancy will not be renewed (for whatever reason), we issue the tenant a notice to vacate letter, detailing the next steps for a successful end of tenancy process. Once the tenant(s) move out and clean the premises, we complete a bond inspection and help them complete a Bond Refund form.

Generally, when tenants follow our vacating checklist steps and leave the property in a good state, they have no problem receiving a full bond refund.


How to successfully clean a rental property when moving out

When we have a tenant moving out of a Christchurch rental property we manage, we give them a comprehensive checklist to follow to give them the best chance of receiving a full refund of their bond. This highly detailed ‘Tenant Vacating Checklist’ includes: 

  1. Clean stove top and any drip trays, inserts, racks, and oven bottom, walls and ceiling. 
    Handy tip: Apply oven cleaner spray before you go to bed, cleaning the next day will be a lot easier! 

  2. Slide the stove out; clean the walls behind it and the flooring underneath.

  3. Clean kitchen range hood filters and framework.
    Handy tip: Put greasy filters through the dishwasher if there is one available.

  4. Clean all walls, ceiling, doors, cupboard doors, skirting boards, picture rails, any curtain pelmets and light shades, drawer fronts, inside cupboards and inside drawers.

  5. Clean the bath (inside and outside), the shower (inside and outside), the washbasin, the vanity (inside and outside) and the toilet (inside, outside and the seat).

  6. Carpets are to be professionally cleaned where necessary (feel free to ask us if you’re not sure). Rug Doctor (or other hire brands) must not be used as these can cause further damage to the carpets. If animals have been inside, carpets are to be pest control sprayed.

  7. Clean all blinds.

  8. Handwash any net screening curtains in lukewarm water (please do not put them in the washing machine).

  9. Please do not wash curtains in case they shrink. If you have taken any drapes down, you should carefully iron and re-hang them properly. Please replace any broken curtain hooks.

  10. Clean all windows inside and out, clean all windowsills and window surrounds and window frames.

  11. Remove oil stains from the driveway and the garage and sweep out the garage.

  12. Tidy gardens and remove all the weeds in the gardens. Mow the lawns and cut edges. Do not leave any garden waste at the property or in the gardens.

  13. Remove all rubbish both inside and out. Make sure all Christchurch City Council wheelie bins are left empty and clean.

  14. Remove all of your belongings. If you leave any unwanted possessions or rubbish behind, you will be charged for the removal.

  15. Carry out a final reading of power so that you are only responsible for power you have used. Most power companies will let you ring them with your final reading. Have your telephone line and internet line disconnected.

Remember to call Fast Connect on 0800 88 55 99 to move your power,
internet and other services to your new home.
Quote agent code 1518Z to get credits on your bills plus other great deals when you move.

  1. Please file a redirection order at your local NZ Post Office for any mail that may arrive after your departure date.

  2. Upon vacating, return all keys for the property to First Avenue Property immediately. Please bring your carpet cleaning receipt (if applicable), forwarding address and bank account details to fill in the bond form.


What is a bond inspection?

During the bond inspection, we’ll compare the state of the property after your tenancy to the state of the property before your tenancy, using our pre-tenancy property report and supporting images.

Any notable discrepancies between the two will then be discussed and accounted for in your bond return.


Further tips for ending a tenancy

We hope you’ve found our vacating tenancy checklist helpful. If you think it’s a touch overboard, pause to think about how you like an empty rental property to look when you move into it, and what you’ll be able to do with a full bond refund.

Check out our blog containing quick tips for starting and ending tenancies, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to know more about successfully getting your bond back at the end of your tenancy.



Bond’ by Mike Cohen via CC BY 2.0.


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