VIC Lease - Options to Recover of 27-Year-Old Rental Bond?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by saratoga, 13 July 2018 at 9:52 AM.

  1. saratoga

    saratoga Member

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    Writing this for a friend. They have been renting a property in Melbourne for the past 27 years. When they first moved in, the bond was one month's rent, which at the time was $600.

    The rent was always paid on time and in full, never a day late.

    Although initially they had a lease agreement, over time that moved to a 'just pay as it goes' and the rent was paid monthly. The rent was mainly paid in cash, collected on site by the landlords.

    Now, 27 years later they have been forced to move out due to poor health and requested their bond be returned.

    The house was initially owned by a couple and very recently the house has apparently passed into the wife's name following a separation / divorce of the landlords. When my friend asked for the return of their bond, they were told by the wife (now owner) that because it was paid to her husband it has nothing to do with her and she wouldn't be giving them back the bond money.

    So my questions:

    1) What options are there for recovering the bond money? (My friend does not have records dating back that far but is confident the landlords do.)

    2) How much bond money should be returned? Is it the initial amount of $600? Is it $600 plus interest over 27 years? Or is it the equivalent of one month's rent, which in today's terms (and what they have been paying for many years now) is $2000?
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Your friend may care to start here.
     
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  3. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    She is dreaming if she thinks she can get away with not paying the bond back. Do you think she could refuse to pay a rates notice using the same argument? I think not.

    There was a financial settlement after their separation, she cannot then decide to shuffle liabilities around 'after' that settlement.
     
  4. saratoga

    saratoga Member

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    Thanks for your replies. I have contacted someone via the website you sent Tim W and they were helpful. There is no bond lodged with them as they don't go back that far; 27 years is a long time in the rental market. They did say that responsibility for the bond will lie with the current owner Clancy and the only way to try and recover the money is to apply to VCAT.

    They were unable to offer any advice on how much to try and claim back. Apparently in the new system you only get back exactly what you put in; fair enough if it's just the usual year or two. Seems grossly unfair however, over a very long period of time, especially given that the landlord is a senior tax accountant with numerous properties and undoubtedly invested that money over 27 years to grow into a considerable sum.

    Any more ideas on how much to try and claim? My friend would be very happy just to get the $600 back but even that's looking unlikely
     
  5. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    Unless you had a contract that stated otherwise, yes, $600 is what you should get back.

    As far as only getting back what you put in seeming grossly unfair, well no, it is part of the cost of renting.
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    VCAT is a good suggestion.
    You can often do a VCAT matter yourself.
    Getting a lawyer to do it will probably cost your friend
    more than your friend is trying to recover.
     
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