Private landlords in Western Australia are being reminded that they must lodge new security bonds.
WA Consumer Protection said the bonds must be lodged with the Bond Administrator to comply with changes to tenancy laws which came into effect in July this year.
Existing bonds will need to be transferred to the Bond Administrator by 31 December 2014.
The reminder comes after the Perth Magistrates Court fined a Port Hedland landlord $800 on 12 September 2013 for failing to lodge a tenant’s bond that has been collected in July 2010.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the WA Residential Tenancies Act, which governs the handling of bond money, is designed to safeguard the interests of tenants.
“Changes to the law now require all new bonds to be lodged with the Bond Administrator at Consumer Protection immediately,” she said.
Bonds on existing tenancies still being held in trust or other accounts will need to be lodged during the transition period, which finishes at the end of next year.
“The requirement that the Bond Administrator eventually holds all bonds in trust ensures that the money won’t be misappropriated and will help reduce the disputes that often arise between tenant and landlord over the return of the bond at the end of a tenancy.
“The fine for failing to lodge the tenant’s bond with the Bond Administrator has now been increased to $20,000 so it’s imperative that landlords or their agents become familiar with the changes to the law and take steps to comply,” Ms Driscoll said.
Real estate agents, property managers, landlords and tenants can find more information on bonds on the Consumer Protection website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/tenancy