Blink Property Arrears Process
Tenants falling behind in rent is an unfortunate, but common part of life, especially in an environment like today, where unemployment has recently increased and now JobKeeper and other pandemic assistance packages are beginning to come to an end.
So, it’s important for owners and tenants to know the rental arrears process for properties under Blink’s management.
Disclaimer: This article relates to Queensland properties only. Laws vary in different states so ask your agent for information that is relevant to your property’s location.
Under legislation, once a tenant is 8 days in arrears, Blink issues them a Form 11- Remedy to Breach notice. This is a legal document that serves as a warning that they have 7 days to get their rent up to date.
Here’s how the next 8 days plays out:
1-4 days late: They receive an email and text message with a friendly reminder
Day 5– The property manager calls the tenant and also notifies the owner of what is happening.
Day 6– Another courtesy email and SMS are sent to the tenants
Day 7– Another call from the property manager
Day 8– We issue the breach, the property manager calls and emails the tenant to notify them of the breach and the owner also receives a call and email.
In the following 7 days, the property manager will attempt to engage with the tenant. If 5 days pass with zero contact, the manager attends the property. At this stage, the property manager will also begin contacting the tenant’s next of kin to chase up payment.
If the tenant makes the payment during the 7 day period, their property manager will notify the owner that payment has been made and ask the owner what they would like to do in the case of another future breach.
In most cases, the tenant pays the outstanding rent and everyone can move on.
At this stage, Blink seeks to work with the tenant to avoid it happening again.
One suggestion we make is that they pay a little extra on top of the rent each week to build a buffer. That extra sits there as credit to be used when needed.
If the tenant doesn’t make the payment after that 7 days, they are then issued a Form 12- Notice to Leave (with grounds). This gives them 7 days to vacate the property.
Under the law, if the tenant receives a breach for the same thing twice within 12 months, the owner can apply to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have the tenant vacate the property.
Owners should understand that property managers have to follow the law to the letter. And the law is strict, but does give tenants a bit of leeway.
One rule to be aware of is that legally, property managers can’t call a tenant until they are late with the rent. Even when they have been late in the past. Sometimes owners will ask that a property manager calls to remind a tenant in advance when rent is due, but this is not permitted by law.
Owners should also ensure they have adequate landlord insurance in place.
There have been a lot of job losses and financial difficulties recently and Blink always tries to work with the tenants to get them off the arrears list. No one wants to evict a family from their home. We may suggest charities and other local networks they can reach out to for support.
Many owners have also been understanding with tenants who may have been affected financially by the pandemic restrictions. But at the end of the day, Blink represents owners and we are conscious that tenants must make payments to keep living in a property.
There are a number of traps that can catch tenants out even when they think they are paying on time.
Sometimes if they move in and pay their first rent on a Friday, they don’t realise that a week is up on the following Thursday, so by the next Friday, the rent is actually a day late.
At other times, they might pay by the end of day on a Friday, not realising that the money doesn’t end up in the recipient’s account until the following week. Or there is a public holiday or bank holiday, or even network outage that delays the payment.
Every time a tenant pays rent, they receive a rental receipt. They should look at it to see when the next payment is due. If you are late with rent, it goes permanently onto your tenant ledger. Owners of rental properties that you apply for in the future will have access to this ledger, and even banks are beginning to consider rental history when assessing loan applications, so you want to keep your ledger clean.
To be safe, simply move your payment date forward to make sure you are paying a week or so in advance.