As the weather warms, we tend to gravitate to the outdoors. After a cool winter which saw overly dry conditions throughout the country (and little relaxation to this in sight), our lawns and gardens may not be looking as lush as we’d like.

As a country, we’re dealing with one of the toughest droughts on record and it is important that we are considerate of the way in which we use water. It can be tempting to turn on sprinkler systems and leave hoses running for lengthy periods of time, particularly for those who don’t have to pay the water bill!

Which touches on a common concern for landlords and tenants – who pays for water? While neither landlord nor tenant is required to exclusively pay for water in the property, in order for landlords to pass on water consumption charges to tenants, minimum criteria must be met.
These include:
– Premises must be individually metered; (or water delivered by vehicle)
– Premises must be ‘water efficient’;
– Charges must not exceed total amount billed by supplier.

It must also be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement.
Some areas have water conservation measures in place. If you’re unsure if this applies to your investment property, it is best to check with your property manager and/or local council. Your property manager, along with council, will have advised your tenants of this as well.

There are a number of water- saving devices available for installation, which can help reduce the amount of wasted water in your property. Many appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers come with a water rating. While the price to purchase may differ from a 2-star to 4-star, the amount of money you, or your tenant, can save on water may be significant.

It’s important to note that tenants cannot be charged sewerage usage or access charges; they may only be charged for water consumption.
Leaking shower heads, taps and/or issues with toilets, must be addressed promptly in order to meet water efficiency of the property. If not – and if included in the lease – tenants may not be required to pay for usage.

As a landlord, whether you choose to pass on all, some or no water charges onto clients, is up to you (provided the above criteria is met).
If you are concerned about the amount of water being used at your property, reach out to your property manager to investigate reasons why.

NOTE: Please confirm all information relating to water usage and your investment property with your property manager at the start of each new tenancy.

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