Frequently Asked Questions

As a service based business, our current and potential clients and customers regularly have questions on the services we provide, what the process is for a particular situation and how we differ from other businesses. We hope this FAQ page will help to answer any questions you may have, but if it doesn’t please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email through the Contact Us page.

How do potential tenants view my property?

We have a 24/7 online booking system for all tenants to set-up inspection times at a time convenient to them. We are also available via phone or email and can meet prospective tenants after business hours or on the weekend to help lease the property quicker. We will meet all prospective tenants at the property, as this is the first part of the tenancy selection process.

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How do you screen tenants?

Selecting a tenant is one of the most important parts of property management, so we check everything we can. The tenant selection process starts at the property. Are the tenants respectful of the property? Do they take off their shoes? Were children well behaved? Are they clean and well presented? These are all items we consider before recommending a tenant to you.

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What checks do you perform on tenants?

Affordability, suitability and history are the main checks that we undertake when a tenant applies for a property. We complete a TICA check on all prospective tenants and also request a reference from their current/old managing agent to not only check their payment history but whether they are cooperative, whether they expect them to have a full bond refund and were pets kept at the property.

If a company or business is applying for your property we also recommend for us to conduct an Equifax search on the company and it’s Directors.

We also “listen to our gut”. If something just doesn’t add up or we feel a  tenant is not right for your property we will let you know. The last thing we want is a problem – it’s bad new for you, your property and us.

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What is the average length of a tenancy?

The average tenancy is 12 months, however, this can vary due to market conditions. If rents are increasing, then 6 monthly leases are recommended (or a rent review is a special condition in the lease), however longer leases can also be recommended for long-term tenants. We also take into account when the peak rental period is in Toowoomba (i.e. December/January) and try to have leases ending in this period so that vacancy is minimised.

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How many routine inspections are done each year?

We conduct inspections every 3 months unless otherwise instructed by the owner of the property. Several owners prefer their long-term tenants to be inspected less often, however as a minimum, the properties must be inspected at least every 6 months. The first inspection for a tenant who has just moved into a property is done at 6 weeks rather than 3 months.

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How often is rent paid into my account?

We can pay into your nominated account either monthly or twice a month depending on what suits you best. Monthly payments are processed on the 1st of each month and twice a month payments are processed on the 1st and 15th of each month.

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What is your process for managing tenants with overdue rent?

Our rent arrears are less than 1%.  We have several payment options for tenants which keeps arrears low (Centrepay, direct deposit via internet banking or at any St George or Westpac branch).

If tenants do fall into arrears, they are notified each day via email and sms. Owners are notified at the 3 day mark and kept up to date from that point to either rectification or breach. We will also phone a tenant to discuss their rent arrears so we can determine how quickly it is going to be rectified.

We keep detailed notes in our system on all conversations with tenants and have an online portal, so you can see up-to-the minute 24/7 where your tenant is paid to.

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What is your process for repairs and maintenance?

This will depend on the individual management plan agreed to at the start of the management. Generally, all owners are contacted for any repairs and their chosen maintenance person contacted. We also have trusted tradespeople to attend to all repairs, maintenance and renovations if you do not have a preferred tradesperson.

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How do I organise to inspect one of your properties?

It’s really easy to organise an inspection of one of our rental properties. Simply click on the ‘Book an Inspection’ button on the listing on our website and select a day and time that suits you. If there isn’t a suitable time you can let us know by clicking ‘Times not suitable’ and we will be in contact to arrange a time. You can also just give us a call on 07 4642 0007 to arrange a time as well.

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Do you have inspections after work hours or on the weekend?

We understand that sometimes it’s hard to organise an inspection during work hours so we are available before and after normal work hours and on the weekend to show you through properties. Tenanted properties can be inspected on Saturday (as long as we have given them adequate notice) and possibly on Sunday’s if the tenants permit entry.

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Can I apply for a property before I inspect it?

You can definitely apply for a rental property with Blackbird and Finch before viewing it and we can even pre-approve your application (pending the owners final decision and your inspection). If you’re a great tenant we would love to have you onboard with us.

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I’m moving to Toowoomba, do I have to inspect the property?

Some agencies require you to inspect a property before signing a lease, however we understand that this is not always possible. If you don’t have anyone that can inspect on your behalf we can organise a video walkthrough or you can sign a form confirming that you haven’t inspected the property before signing the lease.

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I’m listed on TICA, can I still rent through Blackbird and Finch?

I’m sorry but if you are listed on TICA you won’t be able to rent through our agency.  Many insurance companies will not provide landlord insurance to the owner if a tenant is listed on TICA and a claim needs to be made.

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I was offered a new lease agreement but why was I given a Notice to Leave?

In the 3 step process, the first step is to ascertain if you are wanting to sign a lease, this isn’t offering a new lease. 

The next step is to see if the owners are wanting to renew the lease to you.

Many things are considered when renewing the lease such as inspections, rent arrears and general communication and if owners are wanting to move into the property or sell it. The owner may at this point decide not to renew the lease to you.

Another reason you may be issued a Notice to Leave is because you have not signed a lease renewal 2 months before the lease end date.

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What is the process for lease renewals?

Lease renewal is a 3 step process with lots of legislation, communication and paperwork in between each one, but essentially the process is:

    1. Tenant intentions (are you staying or going)
    2. Owner intentions (do you want the tenant to stay and rent increases)
    3. Lease renewal/Notice To Leave (paperwork sent to all parties to sign)

If there is a problem with your lease renewal, it will be held up at 1 of these steps. Generally speaking, we are waiting for the intentions from either party or clarification on dates, terms etc.

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Why am I asked about my lease renewal so early?

These timeframes can be frustrating for tenants and owners, but there is a reason for the early emails.

Legally, we are required to give tenants 2 months’ notice of any change to the tenancy agreement, lease renewal or a Notice to Leave, this includes rent increases as well. If leases are not ended within this timeframe then the lease automatically becomes a periodic lease (often called a month to month lease). The Owner will not allow leases to be periodic. This is why a new lease term or a Notice to Leave must be in place at the 2 month mark.

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Can I go onto a periodic lease (month to month)?

Unfortunately no. Many owners’ insurance policies do not cover rent loss when there is no fixed term tenancy in place which excludes periodic leases.

The only time a periodic lease is generally offered is if the property is for sale or if the owners or one of their family members intend to move back into the property in the near future.

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What if I just don’t know if I want to re-sign the lease renewal?

To give you a little more time to decide, we can issue a Notice to Leave, which is what we are required to do 2 months before a lease ends. Then we can discuss the option of resigning a lease in 1 months’ time. This is when we would generally start advertising a property to re-let it. At that point – 30 days before your lease ends, we need a firm yes or no. If you still don’t know then we won’t have an option but to start advertising the property.  You will then have to move out on the lease end date.

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Can I renew the lease for 3 months?

It depends, many owners have set timeframes that they prefer their leases to end. Some have all leases end in January so will only offer 12 month leases. Some owners prefer 6 month leases, very few will allow a 3 month lease, but we can ask.

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Can I request a longer lease?

Absolutely! 2,3 and 5 year leases are uncommon but for long term tenants can provide some stability. This would need to be approved by the owners and generally there will be an increase in the rent every 12 months which would be written into the lease renewal.

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Will my rent increase at a lease renewal?

It depends on many factors and each property will be different. Rent increases are common at the lease renewal point and you will be advised how much the rent increase will be before signing the lease. There are many factors to consider when setting the rent for a property, which can include: current market prices, insurance and rate increases and property availability.

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Is the lease renewal negotiable?

Everything can be negotiable but please do not take offense when your offer is rejected. Lease renewals including the amount of rent and timeframes are well considered with comparative reports against other properties, reviews of your tenant history and current market conditions before a final decision is made. The lease offered generally considers all of these things.

Tenants have been known to ask for a reduced rent because “I’ve been a good tenant”. The owners response has been – “you are supposed to be a good tenant – you are only meeting your obligations”.

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Why can’t I just give 2 weeks’ notice?

Under RTA legislation, tenants are required to give 2 weeks’ notice in writing before the end of the lease, however owners or agents on the owners behalf are required to give 2 months’ notice. If you don’t sign a new lease 2 months before your lease end date, you will receive a Notice to Leave. The 2 weeks’ notice is irrelevant unless your lease is periodic.

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Will my Bond increase?

Yes if the rent increases the Bond must increase as well. You will be given 30 days to increase your Bond but this should be done before the new rental lease starts. You can increase your bond online at the RTA or by paying the top up amount direct to us. The bond needs to be the equivalent of 4 weeks rent.

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I just had the smoke alarms upgraded, do they have to be done again?

Yes the smoke alarms need to be tested at each lease renewal whether that be 3, 6 or 12 months. If the lease renewal is longer, then the smoke alarms must be done at least every 12 months.

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