Renting, buying or selling property

Which charges can I ask my tenants to pay?

 

Can Unitywater bill tenants directly for water usage?


Which charges can I ask my tenants to pay?

The Residential Tenancies Authority administers the legislation relating to tenants and renting, and has detailed information and guidelines about water and sewerage charging. The following information is an extract from the RTA website:

Tenants can only be charged for water consumption if:

  • the rental premises are individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle); and
  • the rental premises are water efficient; and
  • the tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption.

Water efficient premises should meet the 3-star WELS rating, which is:

  • a maximum flow rate of nine litres per minute for showerheads, internal cold water taps and single mixer taps (excluding taps for bathtubs and appliances); and
  • dual flush toilets using less than 6.5 litres on full flush, 3.5 litres on half flush and 4 litres for the average flush volume (based on the average of one full flush and four half flushes).

If the premises are individually metered but not water efficient, and the agreement states the tenant must pay for water, the lessor must pay for a reasonable amount of water. The lessor and the tenant should agree upon what is a reasonable amount at the start of the tenancy and include the amount as a special term in the tenancy agreement. The tenant is liable for any consumption above the agreed amount. 

The fixed access charges and the sewerage usage charges can not be passed on to tenants.

For more information, see the RTA's Water charging page or go to the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

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Can Unitywater bill tenants directly for water usage?

No. Unitywater only sends bills to the property owner. We are unable to bill tenants directly for water usage.

Meter reading notices are left in the letter box of the property. Tenants are encouraged to read the meter regularly and alert property managers to any unexplained increases in usage.

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What should I do when buying or selling a property?

 

Are new property owners responsible for the bill?

 

What should I do when buying or selling a property?

If you are buying or selling a property, please make sure your solicitor requests a Unitywater Search Certificate and special meter reading from Unitywater. This enables your solicitor to identify and calculate all the water usage and access charges incurred by the previous owner up to the date of settlement. This ensures the purchase price of the property is adjusted according to these charges at the time of settlement.

When you receive the Unitywater Bill for your new property, it will still include the water usage and access charges of the previous owner (depending on when in the billing cycle you purchased the property). You will be required to pay these charges as you have already been reimbursed for the previous owner’s charges in the settlement process as outlined above.

Request a Unitywater Search Certificate.

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I have recently become the new owner of a property, but I have not received the Unitywater Bill for this property. Am I responsible for paying this bill?

There is often a time lag between when you become the new owner of a property, and when Unitywater is formally notified of this change of ownership by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM). As a result, the bill may have been sent to the previous owner.

When we receive formal notification from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) that you are the new owner of the property, we will then mail you a copy of the bill. As the new owner of the property, you are responsible for paying this bill, but you should check your property settlement papers to ensure you have been credited for the water supply and sewerage charges incurred by the previous owner. Your conveyance solicitor is responsible for ensuring this has occurred, and you should contact them if you have any questions.

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    Did You Know
  • Installing a water efficient 4 star rated showerhead will reduce the flow from 20 litres per minute to 9 litres per minute.