Your landlord can only ask you to pay water usage charges if all the minimum criteria have been met.
The minimum criteria for passing on water usage charges is:
A rental property is only considered water efficient if it meets these standards.
Water efficiency devices
Minimum 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.
The landlord does 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.
It is important to note the presence of the water efficiency measures on the condition report for the premises.
If you are unsure if the taps and showerheads in your property meet the required standards ask the landlord or agent to provide some evidence. You could carry also 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.
You are only responsible to pay water usage charges. A water usage charge is based on the volume of water supplied to the residential premise.
Water can be supplied to the premise in different ways depending on which services are available to the area. For example, some areas may also supply water that is recycled. If this is the case, you will be responsible to pay any usage charges.
Some local water supply authorities may also provide a breakdown of the water usage component on your bill which may separately itemise water usage and sewerage usage charges. The total water usage charge is the same as if there were no separately itemised usage charges, which you will be responsible to pay.
Other costs (fixed) on the water bill such as water service or sewerage services are payable by the landlord. These costs are charged regardless of whether the property is occupied or not and you cannot be asked to pay them.
The landlord or agent cannot charge you an administration fee for passing on the bill, late fees or other additional amounts.
You only have to pay if the landlord or agent gives you a copy of the part of the water bill setting out the water usage charges payable, or some other evidence showing how your usage was calculated, within 3 months of getting the bill. You must be given 21 days to pay the amount owing. So long as they request your payment within the 3 months, if you don’t pay they can still take action to recover the money later on (eg. making a claim against your bond or getting an order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal).
Some important points to remember include:
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