Your tenancy agreement should cover details like water usage and how they will be charged.
Water usage can be passed onto the tenant if all of the below conditions are met:
- The property is individually metered,
- The property is water efficient (the water efficiency requirements are contained in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation Section 22), and
- The tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for the water consumption
For Landlords, it’s good to keep a certificate from a plumber stating the premises is water efficient. This is not a requirement, but it will help in case of any disputes and you do need evidence that the property meets the criteria.
This is especially important for a new tenancy and if you don’t have a full history of the maintenance performed or the entry and exit condition reports. The relevant plumbing fixtures may have changed from when the plumber’s certificate was originally issued and if the tenant challenged the validity of the plumber’s certificate, you wouldn’t have the evidence to support there had been no changes to the premises from when it was issued.
If a property has a individual water meter although doesn’t meet the water efficiency requirements, the Landlord can still charge for water usage. However, not all water can be charged. The Landlord must provide a “reasonable” amount of water. There is not a statutory requirement for a “reasonable” amount, but a good starting point is to find out the average water usage from the water provider for the area the property is located.
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