Can I get my bond back after changing it into my flatmate's name?

Question Details: After moving out of my flat I changed the bond into my flatmate's name on the basis that she would pay the bond out to me. She is now refusing to do so.

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

You do have a claim to get your bond back. However, this claim will be against your flatmate and not against the Department of Building and Housing.

When you changed the bond into your flatmate's name, you signed a document that transferred the money held by the Department of Building and Housing to your flatmate. This means that you no longer have a claim to the money held by the Department. However, you do have a claim against your flatmate.

It would be a good idea to write your flatmate a letter or email requesting the money, and giving them a deadline to do so. If they dispute that they owe you the money, you can take your claim to the Disputes Tribunal who will hold a hearing and may make an order requiring your flatmate to pay. You pay a small fee to make a claim in the Tribunal, and will need to represent yourself at the hearing. You are able to make an application online. For more information on the Tribunal visit
www.justice.govt.nz.

If your flatmate agrees that they owe you the money, but they refuse to pay, there is no dispute so you cannot go to the Disputes Tribunal. You can use the District Court, which costs more than the Disputes Tribunal: www.justice.govt.nz.

Answered 18 Nov 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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