Wise Advice on Water Charges
Increasingly, landlords want tenants to pay for their own water consumption. This can only be done in full if the property is water efficient.
Under the legislation, landlords can pass on full water consumption charges to tenants if the rental property is individually metered, water efficient and the tenancy agreement states that the tenant must pay for water.
“This isn’t so hard to do if you know the right information” says Dan Dowden, Principal or Ray White Maroochydore. “Most of us are aware of our environmental impact. This kind of information is readily available from a lot of Queensland government sources”
“The easiest way to check if fixtures meet the standard is to look for a Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards (WELS) rating of three stars or higher which can be found on products made since 2005.”
A property is considered water efficient if internal cold water taps, single mixer taps and showerheads have a maximum flow rate of nine litres per minute and toilets are dual flush and don’t exceed 6.5 litres on full flush, and 3.5 litres on half flush.
Outdoor taps, bath tub taps and taps for appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers are excluded.
Arrangements for water charging need to be negotiated at the start of the tenancy and included in the tenancy agreement.
The presence of water efficient devices should also be noted on the Entry Condition Report (Form 1a) and the landlord or agent should be able to demonstrate that the devices are water efficient.
Copies of plumbing reports, paperwork from the State Government’s Home WaterWise services, receipts, packaging and warranties or instruction manuals for taps and showerheads can all be used to prove water efficiency.
Taps and toilets should be well maintained and any reports of leaking pipes investigated promptly.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) recently refused a landlord’s application for reimbursement of excess water usage. The landlord took the matter to appeal and was refused as a leaking toilet was found to have been responsible for excess water usage at the property.
Details of this judgment are available from the Supreme Court of Queensland Library.
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