Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Million in tenancy bonds unclaimed

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Unclaimed bonds in the Hawke's Bay amount to $928,263.31. Image / Apia.org.nz
Unclaimed bonds in the Hawke's Bay amount to $928,263.31. Image / Apia.org.nz

About a million dollars' worth of tenancy bonds have gone unclaimed in Hawke's Bay.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) figures show 3339 bonds were unclaimed in the Wairoa, Central Hawke's Bay, Hastings and Napier districts at the end of last year.

Early this year, unclaimed bonds were worth $928,263.31.

Figures showed 1559 bonds worth $351,165.37 remained uncollected.

A bond was considered unclaimed after a tenancy ended and no claim was made within two months. It was considered uncollected where payment had been approved but the money not collected within two months.

Some bonds were counted in both sets of figures.

Hastings Citizens Advice Bureau manager Ani Tylee said the bureau saw occasional disputes about whether the tenant would receive their bond back, for example if damage had been done to a property.

The team usually referred the complainant to Tenancy Services or helped them with the dispute resolution process.

Occasionally, complaints were referred to a lawyer at the bureau's free Saturday morning legal clinic.

The bureau also recommended a booklet from Tenancy Services which had good information. Some people just needed to be pointed in the right direction and others needed more assistance, Ms Tylee said.

MBIE general manager of service support and design Mike West said bonds could remain unclaimed when tenants changed their details without telling the Ministry or moved overseas. Common reasons for bonds going uncollected included invalid bank account details, returned cheques and not all parties confirming refund details.

He said there was a six-year limit on claiming a bond after a tenancy had ended. Many bonds included in the Ministry's figures had exceeded the six-year period.

Ministry calculations suggested about 40 per cent of unclaimed bonds could be claimed. The oldest unclaimed bond held was from 1992.

Any bonds which had been unclaimed for six years belonged to the Crown.

Mr West said the interest on unclaimed bonds went towards providing dispute resolution services, advice, information and education, and processing bond lodgements and refunds. NZME

- Hawkes Bay Today

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