Junee renters rarely collect their bonds back in full, with new data revealing the 2663 postcode to be in the top 10 highest in NSW for bond retention.
Data released last week by Fair Trading reveals of the $44,206 held in bond for 45 properties in Junee between April and June this year, less than half was refunded to tenants.
It’s the first time the data from Rental Bonds Online has been made publicly available in a push for transparency by Minister for Better Regulation, Matt Kean.
“This untouched data can be analysed by individuals trying to decide where to rent or invest, as well as innovators who could use the data to create apps and other programs to help consumers,” Mr Kean said.
A whopping 18 of the 45 rentals whose bonds were returned the second quarter of 2017 in Junee received nothing back, while 9 collected their bond in full.
However, local agents say bond forfeiture is complicated, and the statistics don’t reflect the behaviour of tenants in the area.
“We have a very small percentage of tenants who cause damage,” Jason Barrett, agent from PRD said.
“Bonds are often used to cover water usage costs, unpaid rent or carpet cleaning is a common expense.
“It doesn’t make somebody a bad tenant or mean tenants are badly behaved.”
Mr Barrett said the transfer of bonds to new properties is now uncommon, meaning those relocating need to find the money for a new bond from their own means.
For lower income households, this may mean missing rent payments.
“The rental returns are strong on our homes, the great thing about Junee is we’ve got a diverse employment base so there’s always demand for rentals,” Mr Barrett said.
Jenna Pollard from Remax said it’s common for tenants to draw from their bond for existing expenses and this isn’t unique to Junee.
“We have offices in both Wagga and Junee, it’s the same everywhere,” she said.
She said damage isn’t a big problem in Junee.
“It’s up to the agency to ensure people are educated correctly about their responsibilities”.
In comparison, Wagga agents retained about 33 per cent of rental bond money in the same quarter.