The Victorian Government is cutting red tape for renters trying to reclaim their bond money through a $9 million upgrade of the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) online system.
Work on the new system will include an important update to allow renters to pay their bond money directly to the RTBA, giving renters peace of mind that their money is held securely.
Currently, renters must submit their bond to their rental provider or real estate agent, meaning the responsibility of lodging the bond sits largely with the rental provider. Giving renters the option to submit their bond directly will simplify the process and cut red tape for renters, rental providers, and property managers.
The Victorian Government has engaged local business 8Squad to work with the Department of Justice and Community safety on the website upgrade.
The online system will also be integrated with Service Victoria identity verification and seamlessly process bond repayments and bond loans.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne says these upgrades expand on the Victorian Government’s commitment to make renting fairer.
“Dealing with rental bonds can be a challenging and onerous process, and we’re simplifying it to make things easier and quicker for everyone.” said Minister Horne
Verifying users online means they can change their bond details and claim their bonds without the need for paper forms and signatures.
Integration with the systems used by real estate agents will also cut red tape for these businesses, allowing for faster bond lodgements, transfers, and claims.
Updating to a more modern system will result in long-term benefits, with the government saving approximately $3.5 million a year in operational costs over five years.
The new website and system will also be easier to access on mobile devices and have more payment options, making the process of lodging, transferring, or claiming a bond simpler for everyone.
Reforms introduced in March 2021 mean renters can now apply directly to the RTBA to have all, or part of the bond released, without needing to wait for the rental provider or agent to lodge their bond claim.
This means renters are able to make a claim for their bond claim without their rental provider’s agreement. Once this occurs, the RTBA alerts the rental provider and other co-renters to the renter’s claim, giving them 14 days to dispute it.
Nearly 15,000 bond claims have been initiated by a renter since this new law came in, with more than half paid out directly to the renter.