When it comes to water consumption on a leased property, the landlord is entitled to charge the tenant as long as they adhere to the guidelines strictly laid down by the government. In order for a landlord to charge the full water costs to the tenant, they must ensure that the following three things are in place:
1) Agreement, in writing, from the tenant - usually this forms part of the lease.
2) An efficient water delivery system – i.e.: The plumbing must comply with some basic regulations so that wastage of water is kept to a minimum.
3) The actual amount of water used must be measurable – whether it is by water meter or water delivered.
It is very important, as any Property manager Brisbane will tell you, to ensure that this issue is dealt with before the tenant moves in. The matter should be raised with the prospective tenant and then noted in the lease agreement. The landlord should note what water efficient devices there are on the Entry Condition Report. If it is not obvious to the eye that such devices are water efficient, the landlord should be able provide proof that they were installed. These can be in the form of plumbing reports, receipts, warranties, etc. You could also look for the WELS rating – any water fixtures made from 2005 to date are subject to the WELS rating system. A three star or more rating indicates a water efficient fixture.
When it comes to the actual amount charged to the tenant, the landlord should note the meter readings on the Entry Condition Form when they move in and on the Exit Condition Form when they leave. The landlord has to pay the water bill and provide a copy of it for the tenant’s record. The tenant will then have thirty days to repay the landlord. This thirty day period is calculated from the time that the landlord presents the bill to the tenant. The landlord may only charge what they have been charged and may not add any late charges. The water bill must remain in the landlord’s name.
It may seem, from the above, that Rental property management Brisbane can become quite a sticky issue but potential landlords should not be discouraged. There is recourse in terms of a mediation process offered by the RTA - especially useful if the two parties cannot come to an agreement in terms of the water charges.
At the end of the day, the RTA aims to make rental arrangements fair for both the landlord and the tenant and so, if their guidelines are followed; everyone is likely to be happy at the end of the day.
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