You can pass on water usage charges to your tenant provided all the minimum criteria have been met.
The minimum criteria for passing on water usage charges are:
A rental property is considered water efficient if it meets these standards.
Water efficient devices
Minimum water efficiency standard required
|Internal cold water taps and single mixer taps for kitchen sinks and bathroom hand basins||A maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute|
|Showerheads||A maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute|
|No leaking taps||No leaking taps anywhere on the premises at the start of the tenancy or when the other water efficiency measures are installed|
The requirement for sink and basin taps to have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute does not apply to other taps in the premises, such as bathtub taps, laundry taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps which supply washing machines and dishwashers.
You do not necessarily need to change the showerheads and tap fittings. The water efficiency measures can be achieved simply by installing aerators or regulators to existing taps and showerheads and fixing any leaking taps on the premises.
The presence of the water efficiency measures needs to be noted on the ingoing Condition report for the premises. There is no requirement to provide a report from a plumber or the water supply authority certifying their existence. However, it may help to keep:
If you are unsure if your existing taps and showerheads meet the required standards you could carry out a simple bucket and stop watch test to see if, when fully turned on, the flow rate is less than 9 litres in a minute.
For any water fixtures made from 2005 onwards, the easiest way to check if they meet the required efficiency standard is to look for products with a Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme (WELS) rating of three stars or higher. A three star rating indicates a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute. WELS is Australia's water efficiency labelling scheme which rates fixtures including taps and showerheads according to water efficiency.
Only the water usage (volume) costs charged by the water supplier may be charged to the tenant. Other costs (fixed) on the water bill, such as water service or sewerage services are payable by you and cannot be charged directly to the tenant. You cannot charge the tenant an administration fee for passing on the bill, late fees or additional amounts.
The tenant has to be given a copy of the part of the water bill you receive setting out the water usage charges or some other evidence showing how you calculated how much they owe for water. You must seek reimbursement within 3 months of getting the bill, otherwise the tenant doesn't have to pay. The tenant must be given 21 days to pay the amount they owe you. If you request payment within the 3 months, and the tenant doesn't pay, you can still take action to recover the money later on (eg. by making a claim against the bond).
Some important points to remember include:
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