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A West Australian landlord has been fined $1,000 for failing to lodge tenancy bonds with the bond administrator.
Ian Black pleaded guilty to seven charges of breaching the Residential Tenancies Act, based off the collection of bonds between January 2019 and January 2020 across six properties owned by him.
According to the report from Western Australia’s Consumer Protection, the bonds were received on behalf of his tenants as the result of successful applications to the Department of Communities’ Bond Assistance Loan scheme.
As a Mt Magnet shire councillor himself, the West Australian Consumer Protection executive director Trish Blake said that there was “no excuse” for an experienced landlord such as Mr Black to not be aware of his tenancy law responsibilities.
She iterated that “both private landlords and real estate agents have a clear obligation to lodge tenancy bonds with the bond administrator as soon as possible after receipt and certainly take no longer than two weeks”.
In sentencing atMagistrates Court, Mr Black was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1,184.50.
Magistrate Walton, who presided over the case, reportedly took into account the councillor’s guilty plea while noting that tenants weren’t adversely affected by the offences.
Weighing in, Ms Blake highlighted that the process to lodge bonds “is simple and straight forward so it couldn’t be made any easier”.
“Compliance with these laws is essential to ensure the security and safety of tenants’ funds,” she said.
She warned: “Failure to comply may result in prosecution or disciplinary action being taken, as well as the landlord or agent suffering reputational damage.”
Back in 2020, a West Australian agency was fined $18,000 for failure to lodge 19 tenancy bonds on time, while the latest court action follows recent analysis of Western Australia’s Consumer Protection data, which found that just one-third of all tenants in the state received all their bond money back from rental agreements in 2021.
At that time, Ms Blake stated that the agency had received a number of complaints about bond returns taking too long, as well as disagreements between tenants and landlords over the property condition report upon vacancy.
The news also comes just one day after a West Australian woman was revealed to have lost more than $730,000 as a result of a settlement scam.
A landlord, also known as a lessor, refers to an individual that owns a leased property.