Keep contact details up to date
To avoid unnecessary delay at this stage, it is important to keep the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) informed of any changes to the original people who signed the bond lodgement form. When the bond refund form is sent to us, we check the signatures against those held on the bond lodgement form. It is important to update the signature held if there is a change to either the landlord or tenant. Without this update, bond refunds will be delayed while checks are made.
If there is a change among the tenants (with one of the original tenants being replaced by someone else) a change of tenant form needs to be completed. MBIE must also be informed of any change in the other details of landlords or tenants as supplied on the bond lodgement form.
Agree the refund amount
Ideally both the tenant and landlord should go through the house or flat, using the property inspection report again, and check that nothing is damaged or broken. (Remember that the tenant is not responsible for normal fair wear and tear to the house or flat or any possessions let with it, but is responsible for any intentional or careless damage.)
Some or all of the bond can be claimed for anything left undone by the tenant in relation to the tenancy, such as unpaid rent, damage to the property, items missing, cleaning or gardening.
- No claim (full refund) – If the inspection shows everything is in order, complete the bond refund form and send it to MBIE for the refund of the bond money to the tenant.
- Agreed claim (part refund) – If there is some damage or other claim that the tenant agrees to have taken out of the bond, fill out the bond refund form to reflect this. The bond is divided, giving the landlord the cost of the repair or other claim, and the tenant the balance. For instance, if a bond is $400 and the cost of window repairs is $150, then the bond refund form would say 'pay tenant $250 and pay landlord $150'.
Complete and send in the bond refund form
Either the landlord or the tenant may apply to have the bond refunded.
When the inspection is finished and everything is in order, the bond refund form should be filled out and signed by both tenant and landlord, and sent to the MBIE. These signatures are checked against the ones on the bond lodgement form. If one signature is different or missing, MBIE will contact the parties for confirmation that the claim is in order before paying the refund.
Refunds are made by direct credit and bank account numbers must be supplied on the bond refund form. Please note that bond refunds usually take up to 3 working days to process.
Bond money to be refunded can also be transferred to a new tenancy. Please note that bond transfers usually take up to 10 working days to process.
If the claim is not agreed
If the tenant and the landlord cannot agree on the amount or costs that should be taken out of the bond, then either the tenant or the landlord (or both) can make application to the Tenancy Tribunal to get it sorted out (there is an application fee of $20.44). The Tribunal will conduct a hearing to determine how the bond is to be refunded. (Find out more about the Tenancy Tribunal).
If both parties are willing to try and mediate the matter, the applicant can ask for the application to be given to a mediator, and a date and time will be arranged for a mediation (which may be by phone or in person). Both landlord and tenant will be able to discuss the claim being made on the bond and, with the mediator’s help, try to reach an agreement about this. The mediator can then write this agreement up as an order that says how the bond is to be paid out, and MBIE will refund the bond accordingly. If no settlement is reached in mediation, the application will be set down for a hearing in the Tenancy Tribunal.
A completed and signed bond transfer form can be used to transfer the bond money from an old tenancy to a new one. The form must be signed by both the old and new landlords. The new landlord should then send it to MBIE. Please note that bond transfers usually take up to 10 working days to process.
If the old bond amount is more than the new bond, MBIE sends the tenant a refund (by direct credit) for the extra money. If the new bond amount is more than the old bond, then the tenant gives the new landlord the extra money to make up the balance. The Bond transfer form and a cheque for the balance must then be sent to MBIE within 23 working days of the new landlord receiving the extra money.
Want to know more?
Free advice and information on bonds is available – call freephone 0800 737 666, or download our information sheet All about tenancy bonds, which explains what a bond is, how to lodge it, how to transfer it, and how to get a bond refund.