Bond is normally refunded at the end of a tenancy by submitting a completed bond refund form. If there is a dispute about outstanding issues and neither party can agree, an application will need to be made to the Tenancy Tribunal.
Agree on the refund amount
The tenant and landlord should go through the property together and check nothing’s damaged or broken, and that the rent is paid in full. The tenant isn’t responsible for normal wear and tear but they may be responsible for intentional or careless damage.
The landlord can claim some or all of the bond to cover unpaid rent, damage to the property or any other claim relating to the tenancy, like cleaning costs or water rates.
If everything’s in order
If the inspection shows everything’s in order, complete the bond refund form and send it to Tenancy Services for it to be processed.
If there’s unpaid rent or damage
If there’s unpaid rent or outstanding costs such as water rates, the tenant and landlord may agree to split the bond. Part of the bond is refunded to the landlord to cover their costs and the balance is refunded to the tenant. The bond refund form should be completed to reflect this.
Bond refund form
This form is used to refund the bond.
- The bond will not be released to the tenants unless all named tenants have signed this form.
- The form must also be signed by the landlord(s).
- It usually takes about 5 working days to refund a bond when a fully completed form is received.
To release a bond, the same people who signed the bond lodgement form need to sign the bond refund form at the end of the tenancy. If the signatures on these forms don't match there will be delays in refunding the bond.
Either the landlord or the tenant can send the form to Tenancy Services, once it’s filled out and signed by all tenants and the landlord.
Where to send the completed form
You can send the form by:
- Scanning and emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Posting to Tenancy Services, PO Box 50445, Porirua 5240
Processing the form
We check the signatures against those on the bond lodgement form. If they’re the same we will refund the bond.
Refunds are made by direct credit to the bank account numbers you provide on the bond refund form. Refunds will only be made to a NZ bank account and will usually take about 5 working days to process.
Bond money to be refunded can also be transferred to a new tenancy. You will need to complete a Bond Transfer form signed by the named tenants, current landlord and new landlord. Transfers take about 10 working days to process.
If the tenant or landlord can’t sign the form
If the tenant or landlord can’t or won’t sign the bond refund form, complete the form anyway and send it to Tenancy Services. Tenancy Services will attempt to contact the party who hasn’t signed to confirm they agree with the refund.
If the landlord or tenant:
- replies and agrees, the bond will be paid
- doesn’t reply by a certain date, the bond may still be paid
- replies and disagrees, the bond won’t be paid.
If the landlord or tenant doesn’t agree to the bond payment, Tenancy Services will notify both parties of the dispute. The bond will be refunded when a new bond refund form is signed and dated by all parties after the dispute date, or when Tenancy Services receives a Mediator’s Order or an Order of the Tenancy Tribunal advising how the bond is to be refunded.
A landlord can only do this within 2 months of the tenancy ending. After that they will need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal if they want to claim any part of the bond or they will need to get the tenant(s) to sign a refund form.
If the tenant and landlord can’t agree
If the tenant and the landlord can’t agree on the bond refund, either (or both) can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to get it sorted.
If both parties are willing, the applicant can ask for a mediator to help them try to reach an agreement.
If the parties don’t want to use a mediator, or mediation doesn’t work, their case will go to a hearing in the Tenancy Tribunal.
Disputes process has more on mediation and the Tenancy Tribunal.
If a tenant has passed away
If a tenant has passed away, the request for a refund must be made by the appointed executor of the estate. If a will or probate does not exist, the claim must be made by a court appointed administrator. We will need to see the following documents before we can release the bond to the executor or administrator:
- A copy of the death certificate or a letter from a lawyer or The Public Trust Office supporting your claim.
- Proof you are the executor or administrator of the tenant's estate, such as a court order, a copy of the probate, or a letter from a lawyer or The Public Trust Office.
A refund will also be made in accordance with any court order, such as a Tenancy Tribunal order.
If the bond isn’t claimed
If bond remains unclaimed for six years after the tenancy ends, the bond becomes the property of the Crown.