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rtc_policy_and_guidelines_v1.1

rtc_policy_and_guidelines_v1.1 - RESIDENTIAL TENANCY...

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D e p a r t m e n t o f J u s t i c e C o n s u m e r A f f a i r s a n d F a i r T r a d i n g RESIDENTIAL TENANCY COMMISSIONER Guidelines for residential tenancy disputes Draft Version 1.1 – 16 June 2010
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Page 2 Guidelines for determining residential tenancy disputes Background The Residential Tenancy Commissioner The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 (the Act) establishes the statutory position of Residential Tenancy Commissioner (the Commissioner). The Commissioner is appointed by the Minister under section 7(1) of the Act. The role of the Commissioner is to make decisions about bond disputes. Purpose of the guidelines The purpose of these guidelines is to help tenants and property owners 1 understand how decisions are made by the Residential Commissioner when there is a dispute about a bond. These guidelines will help to give certainty to tenants and owners and help to make the Commissioner’s decisions consistent. The guidelines should not be used instead of legal advice. If legal advice is needed, tenants and owners should seek independent legal advice. The Bond Owners often ask a tenant to pay a bond before renting a property. The Act 2 allows an owner to ask a tenant to pay a bond as long as the amount of the bond is not more than the equivalent of 4 weeks rent for that property. Before 1 July 2009, a tenant would pay the bond to the owner. Since 1 July 2009, it has been unlawful for an owner to personally receive a bond. If a bond is required, the tenant must pay the bond to the Rental Deposit Authority (RDA) at a Service Tasmania Shopfront or to a real estate agent. 3 When is a bond in dispute? Pre-RDA bonds (bonds paid to owners or agents before 1 July 2009) If the bond was paid to an owner before 1 July 2009, only a tenant can lodge a dispute with the Commissioner. An application form can be obtained from http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/forms RDA bonds (bond paid to the RDA after 1 July 2009) A bond is in dispute when: o either the tenant or the owner has made a claim to the RDA for the return of the bond, and the other parties disagree with the claim; or 1 Owners means ‘property owners’ and includes ‘property managers’. 2 Section 25 of the Act. 3 Most real estate agents are registered agents of the RDA. Section 25(3) of the Act allows a real estate agent to accept a bond but requires the bond to be sent to the RDA within 3 days. If the agent is registered with the RDA, a longer time is allowed under the terms of their agency contract.
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Page 3 o an owner has made a claim to the RDA for a share of the bond and the tenant has not responded within 10 days. The RDA automatically notifies the Commissioner when there is a dispute, so there is no need to make a special application. The process When notified of a dispute, the Commissioner writes to the other parties asking for information that will help in making a decision. The Commissioner asks the owner for information to support their claim. The Commissioner asks the tenant to provide any information that is relevant to their argument.
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