Life is set to be made easier for tenants and real estate agents in Western Australia following the introduction of a new method for collecting and returning rental bonds.

After recent trials the state is preparing to roll-out the BondsOnline system in the hope it will streamline the bond process.

The system operates in a similar way to online banking, with real estate agents setting up the bond transaction for each tenant, the tenant then logs into the system and confirms the transaction using their email address and mobile phone number as their unique identifiers, which replaces the need for paper forms. 

Western Australian Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the system has been well received.

“The new BondsOnline has been successfully trialled for the past five months by a group of real estate agents nominated by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) who have provided extremely positive feedback,” Mischin said

“They report that eliminating the need to process paperwork increases efficiency and productivity of their business, while reducing costs and red tape. The system has been designed so it can be easily integrated into an agency’s property management software,” he said. 

The system includes safeguards to ensure bond money is only released when the agent and the tenant agree on the amount to be returned and any disputes will still have to be settled in court.

The system aims to have bond money returned to tenants within 48 hours of an agreement being reached and REIWA president David Airey said that is likely to be welcomed by tenants.

“It can be hard for tenants, especially those on low and fixed incomes, to move from one rental property to another if they cannot access their original bond money. Often this can take between eight and 12 days, with some paper-based processing taking up to a month,” Airey said

“Now that the median rent in Perth is around $420 per week, a typical bond is currently $1,680 which is a substantial amount of money for a tenant to have to come up with. This will be a much better system to ensure that the tenant’s money is back with them at the earliest opportunity,” he said.