What is a bond?
This is money paid at the start of a tenancy to the landlord as a security deposit. If you breach any of the conditions in your lease agreement, the landlord can claim all or part of your bond as compensation.
Bond is usually equal to four weeks' rent but if the weekly rent is more than $250 the landlord can ask for a bond equal to six weeks' rent.
Landlords can also ask for two weeks' rent in advance. This is also paid at the start of your tenancy.
If you will be boarding or lodging in a rooming house or will be renting in a residential park the amounts of bond and rent in advance are different.
Assistance with getting a bond
If you are on a low income you may get some financial assistance for bond and rent in advance through Housing SA.
Various organisations - eg Centrelink, may be able to help with one off emergency payments, budgeting and financial advice. You can find services in your area through the SA Community website.
You may ask a friend or family member to be bond guarantor. This means that they pay the bond on your behalf and at the end of the tenancy it will be returned to them if it isn't claimed by the landlord.
What happens to a bond?
Bonds are lodged with Consumer and Business Services (CBS) who keep it until the end of the tenancy.
All or part of the bond can be claimed by the landlord if you:
- cause property damage
- are in rent arrears
- breach other conditions in the lease agreement.
If no claims are made the bond will be returned to you, your guarantor or to Housing SA if they provided a bond on your behalf.
If you think a bond is being claimed unfairly you can dispute it - see Disputing a bond claim.
Unclaimed bond money
You may have bond money from a previous private rental property that you can reclaim from CBS.
You may have unclaimed bond money if:
- you didn't provide a forwarding address to either the landlord or Residential Tenancies and no claim was made on the bond
- you forgot to cash a bond refund cheque.
To collect any unclaimed bond money contact CBS.
You will need to provide:
- the exact address of the rental property
- the dates of your tenancy
- the bond amount
- the landlord's details
- proof of your identity.
When can a landlord increase a bond?
If you have been living in a rental property for at least two years the landlord can increase the bond amount. You can be asked to pay the difference between the original bond provided at the start of the tenancy and the new bond amount. This money is lodged with CBS and, provided no claim is made on the bond at the end of the tenancy, will be returned to you.
On this site
Lease agreements and tenant responsibilities
About the Residential Tenancies Tribunal
For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch.