What is Bond Cleaning?

If you’re new to renting or just want to get caught up on the ins-and-outs of ending your tenancy, this guide will walk you through the bond refund process and fully answer the question, “What is a bond clean”?

Published on January 27, 2020
by The Neat Team

Whether you call it a bond clean, an end of lease clean or a vacate clean; chances are you’ll have to perform one when you move out of your property. It’s a legal requirement of your tenancy and the process for which you’ll get your bond refunded. If you’re new to renting or just want to get caught up on the ins-and-outs of ending your tenancy, this guide will walk you through the bond refund process and fully answer the question, “What is a bond clean”?

What is a bond clean?

A bond clean, also known as an exit clean, is the comprehensive cleaning of your rental property at the end of your lease. The purpose of the bond clean is to restore the property to the original condition when first moved in. If the real estate agent determines that there is any damage to the property or that it still requires cleaning, a claim may be lodged against your bond.

The bond refund process

performing a bond clean

At the start of your lease, the real estate agent or landlord will lodge your bond (usually 4-weeks rent) with Fair Trading in NSW or the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority in Victoria. It will remain in the trust for the duration of your lease, until your agent makes a bond claim. If you’ve never gone through the refund process, here’s how it works:

  1. Document initial condition report The initial condition report is the document both the tenant and the estate agent complete at the start of a tenancy. This report documents the state of the property when you first moved in on a room-by-room basis. It is expected that you will leave the property in the same condition when you first moved in, aside from fair wear and tear.
  2. Complete your tenancy As the end of your lease approaches, it’s time to repair any outstanding damage to the property and complete the bond clean.
  3. Perform final inspection Once the tenancy ends, the real estate agent or landlord will perform a final inspection of the property. The purpose of this is to check off each item documented in the initial condition report.
  4. Release of bond refund If everything is in order, the real estate agent or landlord can either release the funds or make a claim against your bonds electronically with Rental Bonds Online in NSW or RTBA Online in Victoria.

Initial condition report

As outlined above, it’s necessary to complete an initial condition report at the beginning of your tenancy. This report reflects the state of the property when first moved in and is the key document used during the final inspection. Here are a few tips when filling out the report.

Fill in the report carefully

Carefully note all problems on the initial condition report. This goes for when the real estate agent first fills in the report, as well when you plan to move out. Before you move into the property, take photos for visual reference and as evidence to refer back to. No matter how small an issue is, documenting it before you move in will give you some “outs” if brought up in the future.

Address any damage to the property

Are there any damages that were caused during your tenancy that need to be addressed? Where possible, make arrangements to repair any damages before the final inspection. Damages left outstanding can end up more expensive to deal with after the lease has finished. Always take action while you are still under lease.

Fair wear and tear

There are some instances where you won’t be liable for damage to the property known as “fair wear and tear”. Fair Trading NSW describes it as the “deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even though the premises receive reasonable care and maintenance.”

In cases like these, it may be possible to forgo any cleaning if the damage is beyond repair. A typical example of this is carpeting. You may not be expected to pay for the carpets to be steam cleaned if the landlord plans to replace them anyway. Never make assumptions though, always check in with the real estate agent.

The below table can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website and outlines specific instances where you might not liable for the condition of the property.

Fair wear and tear (You are not liable)
Damage (You are liable)
Faded curtains or frayed cords Missing curtains or torn by the tenant’s cat
Furniture indentations and traffic marks on the carpet Stains or burn marks on the carpet
Scuffed up wooden floors Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors
Faded, chipped or cracked paint Unapproved paint job
Worn kitchen bench top Burns or cuts in the bench top
Loose hinges or handles on doors or windows and worn sliding tracks Broken glass from one of your children hitting a ball through the window
Cracks in the walls from movement Holes in walls left by tenant removing picture hooks or shelves they had installed
Water stain on carpet from rain through leaking roof or bad plumbing Water stain on carpet caused by overflowing bath or indoor pot plants

Bond cleaning requirements

The level of cleanliness isn’t open to interpretation; your estate agent will set out specific bond cleaning requirements that must be met. If the bond clean doesn’t meet the estate agent’s standard, you may lose some or all of your bond deposit. Your real estate agent should provide an end of lease cleaning checklist for you to work through. As a general guide, the below points are important aspects of a bond clean.

  • Steam cleaning carpets: In most cases, carpets are required to be professionally steam cleaned. You may have to show the receipt from the contractor as proof of a professional clean.
  • Oven and range hood: Depending on use, grease build-up can be mild to severe. Oven cleaning alone will take up to an hour for degreasing agents to work their magic. Don’t forget to clean the range hood filter and exhaust.
  • Walls and skirting boards: Remove any marks from walls and dust all skirting boards.
  • Curtains, venetians and blinds: Dust, wipe down or wash any types of blinds – wooden or fabric.
  • Windows and window sills: Remove dust build up and any dead insects window frames, window sills and all other fittings etc.
  • Shelves and drawers: Wipe out all drawers and dust the tops of any cupboards.
  • Exhaust fans and ceiling fans: Remove dust from accessible exhaust and ceiling fans.
  • Floors: Wash all non carpeted floors and remove marks.
  • Bathroom: Clean toilet, bath, shower recess, remove built up soap residue, clean sink and all tapware

Professional bond cleaners

Now that you know the importance of a bond clean, it’s time to decide if you want to do it on your own or hire professionals. Here are a few important tips if you decide to hire an end of lease cleaning company.

Get a bond cleaning quote

requesting a bond cleaning quote

If you’re planning to get a professional end of lease clean, it’s always a good idea to compare bond cleaning prices. The most common way to do this is to get quotes from multiple cleaning companies. Some will require a phone call, while others will reply by email. With This is Neat Cleaning, you can always get an instant bond cleaning quote online.

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The Neat Team