Basic information for buyers and sellers


What happens when you buy or sell a property?

Unlike other utilities (such as gas or electricity), Unitywater does not disconnect its services and issue a final bill when someone sells their property. Existing water supply and sewerage services remain connected and available to the property, so the new owner does not need to ‘reconnect’ when they move in. 

During the sale of a property, the conveyancing solicitor should request a Unitywater search certificate (PDF) in order to identify and calculate all the previous owner/seller's charges up until the property’s settlement or hand-over date. Once the settlement occurs, the conveyancing solicitor should send payment for the previous’ owners charges directly to Unitywater.

If this is not done, all charges will become the responsibility of the new owner.

Download our Buying a Property Fact Sheet (PDF).

What is a Unitywater Search Certificate?

The Unitywater search certificate (PDF) is a printed record (sent via mail or email) that shows the special meter reading details and outlines any outstanding charges on the property’s account, the amount to be paid to the special read date, and any interest on overdue amounts, plus any other debt owing on the property. It provides all the information needed to calculate the charges from the special read date to the settlement date. 

Read more about how to apply for a Unitywater Search Certificate and download Your guide to the Unitywater Search Certificate.

How are property ownership details updated?

When a property changes hands, the conveyancing solicitors should notify the Queensland Land Registry (via a Form 24 - Property Information Transfer) of the change in property title. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines then sends an official notification of the change of ownership to Unitywater. Unitywater will only update property ownership details when we receive the official DNRM notification.

Do you need to tell us when you move?

Yes, when you move or change your postal address. You can simple log into My Account and change you contact details. Alternatively contact us.

When does the new owner get their first Unitywater bill?

When Unitywater receives the settlement payment confirming that a property has changed owners, we put the property’s bill on hold, so that any bill due to be issued as part of the normal quarterly billing cycle is not sent to the previous owner.

Instead, the bill is held until we receive official notification of the new owner’s details from the The Department of Natural Resources and Mines. This can take several weeks or longer, and can sometimes cause delays in issuing bills to new owners.

When Unitywater receives the new owner’s details, we issue any on-hold bill (if applicable) to the new owner, which means they may receive their first Unitywater Bill before your property’s next meter reading in the quarterly billing cycle. It also means that new owner’s first bills may be closer together than normal.

Are there previous owner's charges on the new owner's bill?

The new owner’s first Unitywater bill is likely to include some of the previous owner’s charges for the days in the billing period that they still owned the property. If the previous owner has any outstanding charges from earlier billing periods, this will show as a ‘Property Settlement Transfer’ amount in the ‘Payments/Adjustment’ section on Page 2 of the bill (see the diagram below).

All these charges incurred by the previous owner should be offset by the settlement payment sent to Unitywater to by the conveyancing solicitor. This is shown as a ‘Property Settlement Payment’ credit in the ‘Payments/Adjustment’ section on Page 2 of the bill (see the diagram below). This assures the new owner that the previous owner’s charge have been paid at time of billing.

Bill example:

Property Settlement Transfer Bill Image


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