Renting Guide

How to claim a bond refund in NZ: 9 simple steps

Make sure you get what’s owed to you when your tenancy ends

Last updated: 10 April 2024

At the end of the tenancy you’re entitled to a bond refund in most cases. With that said, to get your bond back you’ll have to jump through a few hoops first. Here’s what you need to do. 

1. End the tenancy correctly

For more on how much notice you need to give your landlord and how to service notice correctly check out our detailed blog here. If you don’t end your tenancy properly you may end up owing your landlord rent and it’ll be harder to get your bond back. 

2. Keep your property in good shape

Your landlord won’t be able to deduct from your bond if, when you leave:

  • You’ve carried out all agreed upon gardening chores.

  • There are no items missing from the property.

  • The property is clean, reasonably tidy and not damaged when you finish your tenancy 

3. Make sure rent is up to date

If you’re behind on rent, your landlord may be able to deduct any amount owing from your bond. To avoid this, check with your property manager or landlord that you’re up to date before the tenancy’s final day. 

4. Do a final inspection with the landlord and/or property manager

Once you’ve moved all your belongings out of the property you should do a final inspection with the landlord or property manager. It’s always best to do this together, but if you can’t, you can do your own separate inspections. Take photos or videos to document the inspection.

It's a good idea to move your stuff out before your final inspection.

5. Download a New Zealand bond refund form

Download and complete a bond refund form then take it to your final inspection. If everyone is happy you can sign the bond refund form on the spot and send it off right away (the sooner you send it the sooner your bond will be refunded). 

This is usually the landlord’s responsibility but tenants can do it too. Once you’ve sent the email you’ll get a response confirming tenancy services have got it and advising how long it’ll take to process the refund (or asking for more information if the form is incomplete). 

Once they’ve received the form, Tenancy Services should take five working days to refund your bond.

6. If you and your landlord don’t agree on your bond refund you can still send the form

If your landlord isn’t agreeing to release your bond, you can still complete and sign the bond refund form and send it to the Tenancy Services email address above. They will attempt to contact the landlord to ask why they haven’t filled out the form. 

According to Community Law NZ the landlord then has 10 working days to object - if they don’t object in time the bond will be paid to you. 

7. If you can’t agree, get advice

If you can’t agree with your landlord on how much bond should be refunded it’s a great idea to talk to Tenancy Services to find out what your rights are. 

  • Tenancy Services free advice line: 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).

They can either give notice to your landlord to solve the problem according to the rules of your tenancy agreement and tenancy law, or arrange mediation. 

If your landlord doesn't agree to refund your bond there are options.

8. Apply to the Tenancy Tribunal

If Tenancy Services aren’t able to help you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal and ask for them to decide the outcome. Making an online application costs $20.44 (including GST).

Apply to the Tenancy Tribunal here.

9. Attend the Tenancy Tribunal

You’ll then be sent a date for the tribunal hearing, which is a little like court but less formal. In most cases, lawyers aren’t allowed and you can tell your side of the story yourself. You’re allowed to bring witnesses and a support person and should bring any evidence to support your claim like bank statements, rent books and your tenancy agreement. It’s always better to attend - if you don’t, the tribunal may dismiss your claim. 

Once the hearing is over, the tribunal will make a decision and put it in writing. This is called an order and it’s legally binding. 

If something went wrong, you weren’t notified of the hearing or there’s new evidence you can apply for a rehearing within five working days. 


Ben Tutty
Ben Tutty

Ben Tutty is a regular contributor for Trade Me and he's also contributed to Stuff and the Informed Investor. He's got 10+ years experience as both a journalist and website copywriter, specialising in real estate, finance and tourism. Ben lives in Wānaka with his partner and his best mate (Finnegan the whippet).