Thousands of current and former South Australian tenants are being urged to check if they’re entitled to unclaimed bond money worth more than $19m.
Consumer and Business Services, the agency that refunds bond money to tenants who have ended a lease every year, announced on Friday there was about $19.2m worth of bonds in the system going unclaimed.
A bond is usually paid as a security deposit upon entering a lease and should be returned at the end of a lease on the condition the landlord makes no claims for cleaning or repairs.
CBS will be contacting tenants directly to encourage them to lodge an application to claim any historic bonds remaining unclaimed.
“The conventional wisdom is to ignore unsolicited emails or text messages telling people they are owed money, and this still remains the case,” a CBS spokesman said.
“But staff from CBS will be contacting people via text and email to advise them that there may be an unclaimed bond in their name.
“While people still need to be cautious, we encourage them to check the website if they have been tenants in a rental property at any stage.
“Importantly, these messages will not ask for personal banking details or any other information and won’t ask people to click a link.
“They will simply be advising people to check the CBS website to see if money is outstanding.”
South Australian commissioner of consumer affairs Dini Soulio told 7 News the accumulation of unclaimed bonds over decades was the result of people not applying for a refund when they moved out of a rental property.
“Leaving a rental property can be a chaotic time, and sometimes things get missed in the rush,” he said.
“Bonds will often stay with us because someone has forgotten to update either their contact details or their banking details, and so we have no avenue to return the money.”
Eligible recipients can expect to receive a text message advising them to check the CBS website to see if money is outstanding.
Mr Soulio said since CBS started advising former tenants two years ago to check if they had outstanding bonds, $16m had been returned.