Water Usage for Tenants

From: Alan Hill

Hi Guys,

Having previously self managed properties that have NOT had separate Water Meters, I was wondering what most owners do with regards to charging for ACTUAL Water Usage where properties have their own meter.
Certainly in the standard REI Lease Agreement, under Clause 29 there is the allowance for charging for Water Usage,but do most actually charge this component of the Sydney Water Bill to the tenant, or just pay the whole lot and claim it as you would for Council Rates?
If you do charge the tenant, do you just send a copy of the bill to the tenant and ask that they pay for just this component of the bill(as opposed to the Services charges?

Thank you
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Reply: 1
From: Grant P

Hi Alan,

I don't know about anyone else, but if someone started charging me for water, I think you would find your garden and grass areas looking like the Simpson desert. I would refuse to use the water on the garden.

But that is just me.


"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right!" - Henry Ford
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Reply: 2
From: Terry Avery

In Victoria the water company sends a bill to the owner for water connection
which you claim as a tax deduction.

The tenant is billed by the water company for the water he/she uses and are
responsible for having the meter read when they move in or out. If a tenant
doesn't pay their water bill the water company can cut it off, as they are
responsible for all water use after they move out they are motivated to
inform the company when they move out.

The same applies for electricity, gas and telephone.
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Reply: 2.1
From: Caroline Wilson

I have been a tenant in Sydney and charged for water usage.

The real estate agent sent us a copy of the bill with the water usage amount highlighted and that is the amount we paid.

I was told that was standard practice for the area.

Hope that helps.
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Reply: 2.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel

On 8/16/01 3:16:00 AM, Caroline Wilson wrote:
>I have been a tenant in Sydney
>and charged for water usage.
>I was told that was standard
>practice for the area.

Told by the agent that it was "standard practice" ??? I hate this, I really do.

Standard practice schmactice !

As a tenant you should take it upon yourself to gain familiarity with the residential tenancies legislation for your state and stand up for your rights as a tenant. This varies from state to state, so make sure you find out what the situation is for you !

Be wary of landlords who try to force you to sign contracts to pay things above and beyond what the legistlation requires you to pay. There are tribunals available for mediation and resolving situations where the landlord has illegally imposed conditions on the tenant.

As a landlord, you should also take it upon yourself to gain familiarity with the residential tenancies legislation for you state and know your tenants rights.

Feel free to ask the tenant to sign a contract that goes against the regulations, but beware that if they do sign it unaware of what their actual rights are, you may find that when they take you to the tribunal you will lose out big time.

Some states are more tenant friendly than others, but there is always the concept of the tenant as the innocent party being abused by the nasty property baron (you).

Remember that if you do not have a tenant to help you pay for your investment property, would you really be able to afford to hold it ? High tenant turnover really eats into returns and your time. Remember that they are your customers and you should look after them.

Why do I rant like this ? Well... as both a landlord and a tenant, I get to see both sides of the argument. I know how I like to be treated as a tenant, so I try and treat my tenants the same way.

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From: Diane -

Charging for water usage is standard practice in Sydney. The Central Coast has just started the same practice as there is no longer a water allowance in the rates. As far as tenants letting lawns and gardens die - it is stated in our leases that they must return theses areas in good order and can be charged from the bond when vacating if they do not. We have never had a problem with water usage being paid nor any complaints by tenants.

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From: Michele B

Any engineer will tell you it's important to keep the moisture content around your foundations constant to prevent significant structural movement - especially if your IPs are quite old.

And since tenants don't think about such things and always ration garden water if they're paying for it, I've installed automatic watering systems to see if this fixes the problem.

So far so good - one IP, a 1900 villa which was cracking badly (some of Adelaide's prized inner-city suburbs are renowned for this) has settled down really well in only 6 months. And since landlords in SA are required to pay only for the first 136kL used, I know 'my' water is all being directed where I want it and at the rate I want it.

Knowing my buildings are OK is the major benefit for me. The cosmetic advantages in having a thriving garden is a nice bonus.

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From: Michele B

Sure is!!

Yes please Michael!!! I'd love some details re salt damp and plaster repairs - these are a recurring nightmare for me!

In fact I'm tenaciously hanging on to a deal atm involving a decrepit pile of bricks in the cbd which has had a substandard housing order on it since 1962. Yes, I think I need you desperately!!

Michele :D
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From: Sergey Golovin

We rented places in blocks of units in Sydney and we have never paid any water bills.

Strata people probably paid for it.

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From: Robert Forward

You got it. In unit blocks the water is usually charged in with your body corp.

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