Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1246 ..
Mr Doszpot: This has got to be the most irrelevant session we have ever had.
MADAM SPEAKER: Members, this is the level of noise I expect, and that is silence, thank you. Minister, you have only a few seconds left.
MS FITZHARRIS: I note Mr Doszpot’s reference that it is irrelevant to the chamber that the commonwealth agencies are moving. (Time expired.)
Mr Barr: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Supplementary answers to questions without notice
Access Canberra—rental bonds
MR RAMSAY: I would like to respond to Ms Lee’s question in the Assembly yesterday in relation to the delays experienced in relation to rental bonds. I thank Ms Lee for her interest in rental bonds. I think it is important to share some insights into this important function.
There are about 75,000 residential rental bond transactions processed each year in the ACT. We expect that that number will increase as our population grows, as we renew urban areas and build in greenfield sites. It is worth noting that lessors and managing agents are not required by law to take a bond from a residential agent. However, if they do receive a bond they are required to lodge it. Last financial year there were approximately $64 million worth of residential bonds held by the territory.
A bond is money paid by a tenant as a security for the performance of the tenant’s obligations under the residential tenancy agreement. Bond money can be used by the landlord to recoup costs as a result of damage by a tenant, besides normal wear and tear, or any outstanding payable rent. The territory’s role is to ensure that moneys are held in trust and that, at the time of the refund, the territory is confident that the entitlements are able to be disbursed.
The peaks and troughs of the city’s economy and lifestyle are very much reflected in the seasonal swings for the rental bond lodgements and refunds. It is no surprise that Christmas and New Year are one of the busiest times of processing, as there is a high turnover of students, diplomats, defence personnel and the like. I am advised that there was an extended waiting time for refunds of four to five weeks during the most recent Christmas and New Year period, mainly due to the increased demand and preparation for the movement of this function from the Fyshwick shopfront to the new Woden centre. I am pleased to advise that for February and March 2017, the processing times for refunds averaged eight working days, within the 10 working day service standard.
I would also like to respond to Ms Lee’s supplementary question about the acceptability of delays. I do not believe that the delays and the return of rental bonds beyond the regulated time period are acceptable. At the present time, uncontested refunds, where there are no disputed issues between the parties, are resolved by Access Canberra staff within an average of six working days. Banks may then take up