June 21, 2011

Water Charging and Rental Property (QLD)

Tenants cannot be charged water consumption charges unless the property is individually water metered and there is a term on the General Tenancy Agreement allowing for water charging (section 166 of the RTRA Act).

If the premises are individually metered, the property is water efficient and the agreement states that an amount or all water consumption charges are payable by the tenant, the tenant can be charged for total water consumption charges. Please note that there is no requirement at law for a ‘water compliance certificate’ or ‘plumbing certificate’ as such; it is up to the lessor to disclose to the agency whether there property is water efficient as per the requirements set out in the RTRA Regulations. Best practice is to obtain this disclosure in writing from the lessor client.  It is best practice to advise lessors that if there is a dispute in regards to water efficiency at their property, evidence of compliance will need to be provided to the tenant or the Tribunal.

If the property is NOT water efficient, but does have an individual water meter, tenants can only be charged a reasonable amount of water consumption charges.  The General Tenancy Agreement must allow for this provision in Item 12.2, plus a special term. Section 169 (4) of the RTRA Act sets out what the Tribunal must have regard to when there is a dispute regarding water charges;

(4) In deciding an amount payable by a tenant for outgoings for a

water service charge, the tribunal must have regard to the

following—

(a) relevant available information about water usage and

charges for premises in the local government area in

which the relevant premises are situated;

(b) the area of the relevant land;

(c) any terms of the agreement affecting the amount of

water used;

 (d) the presence or absence of water saving devices in the

premises;

(e) the number of persons occupying the premises;

(f) the quantity of water for which the lessor should

reasonably be liable;

(g) anything else the tribunal considers relevant.

If you are a Platinum Elite Member, Gold Priority Member or a Professional Elite Individual Member of Real Estate Excellence and require further advice about water (including Tanks), please contact Stacey Holt. If you are not a Member of Real Estate Excellence, please contact your education provider or the RTA – 1300 366 311 for further advice if required.
(c) Real Estate Excellence - www.realestateexcellence.com.au

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