Landlord fined $2,500 over late bond lodgement

In what is appearing to be an increasingly significant issue, a private landlord has been fined $2,500 by the Geraldton Magistrates Court in Western Australia due to late bond lodgement.

Earlier this month Century 21 Wentworth Real Estate was fined more than $10,000 for 26 counts of failing to lodge bonds collected for rentals within the required 14 days.

After failing to deposit two security bonds with the Bond Administrator, and failing to do so for a third within 14 days of receipt, the fine was issued.

The former real estate agent and current private landlord John Lewis Donohoe of Geraldton, received a $2,100 bond from a tenant in January 2011. Donohoe also received a $2,000 bond from a tenant in May 201, but failed to deposit either of these into a trust account in the name of the owner and tenant, or with the Bond Administrator. He was fined $1,000 for each of these.

He was also fined $500 for receiving a $2,200 bond payment in June 2012 but taking 42 days to lodge it with the Bond Administrator.

He was also ordered to pay $486 in costs.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Anne Driscoll, said failure or delays in lodging bonds is a serious breach.

“The law ensures that a tenant’s bond money is secure and will not be misused, so private landlords as well as agents need to lodge the funds with the Bond Administrator as soon as practicable and certainly no longer than 14 days,” Driscoll said.

“Failing to do so, or lodging too late, can result in action by Consumer Protection which could result in a prosecution as well as serious damage to the landlord or agent’s reputation.”

The fact he was a former real estate agent and therefore should have been aware of the requirements of the act was taken into consideration by Magistrate Lawrence.

Currently, bonds must be lodged with the Bond Administrator within 14 days of collection. Those deposited into trust accounts prior to the new tenancy laws (effective as of 1 July 2013) need to transfer them to the Bond Administrator for the end of 2014.

 

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jduke@propertyobserver.com.au

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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