By Mirelle Macdonald

[A handy guide to tenancy water charging for both landlords and tenants]

Passing bills on to tenants:

It is best for property managers / owners to pass on water bills in a timely manner.

While the Act does not provide timeframes for invoices to be given to tenants, if the matter is taken to QCAT, a previous ruling stated it was “unreasonable for a lessor (property owner) to withhold water charges and issue an invoice that covers a significant period and a significant amount”.

A recent Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) case highlights the importance of providing timely water use charges to tenants.

In handing down orders, a tenant is entitled to be made aware of the cost of water consumption as and when the invoices fall due. However, in this case the lessor billed nine months’ of water charges in one invoice.

The timing of invoices for water charges, when payment is due and when a breach arises for failure to pay for water is a vexed question for owners, tenants and the tribunal. Whilst there are no prescribed requirements for invoice time frames, the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulation 2009 states that tenants “must pay the amount of the water consumption charge to the lessor within 1 month of the lessor giving the tenant copies of relevant documents about the incurring of the amount”.

In this case, the tenancy agreement detailed quarterly invoicing arrangements. The property owner’s submission of water charges contravened this arrangement. QCAT stated that it was unreasonable for a lessor to withhold water charges, issue an invoice that covers a significant period and a significant amount and then be surprised if the tenant cannot, or will not, pay the full amount. A tenant is entitled to be made aware of the cost of water consumption as and when the invoices fall due.

QCAT advises property managers, owners and tenants to be aware of their rights and obligations through review of:

  1. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (particularly sections 166 and 169) and its regulation;
  2. The Residential Tenancies Authority’s water charging fact sheet – available here: Fact Sheet

With all this in mind, the Ray White Sherwood Asset Management Department offers the following services as part of our commitment to you as a landlord:

Urban Utilities

Do you know how easy it is to have your property manager take care of your water bills? Very! Have your accounts redirected to us in the mail. Fill out the online form through Urban Utilities here:

Urban Utilities Online Form

Or by calling 13 26 57.

This ensures all accounts are paid from the rent on time and tenants are invoiced immediately.

WELS Report

For the purpose of proving water efficiency, our local plumber can issue a water certificate or WELS Report for $110.00 plus any parts needed.

Have an investment property that isn’t managed by Ray White Sherwood?

Contact Aimee Carding on 0403 325 529 to discuss how easy it is to transfer your biggest asset into the hands of our amazing Property Management department. It will be the best decision you make. Don’t take our word for it…hear what our clients have to say about our wonderful team here: 50+ google reviews

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