Costs after moving out

Question from Stacey updated on 14th March 2013:

I lived in a house for a year and I closed down my power and water accounts when I moved out. The property mangaer has billed me $100 for cleaning the stove, $97 for power and $27 for water. Are they allowed to bill me such utilities even though I have moved out? Also, the water pipe broke which caused me to have a water bill of $300 when currently living there. Do I have to pay for the water bill? My usual water bill is much less.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

At the end of your tenancy you are required to leave your property reasonably clean and tidy. If you left the oven dirty and the landlord had to pay a cleaner to bring it to a “reasonably clean” standard, then that charge is payable by you. Also, you are responsible for metered water charges while you are a tenant. If the landlord or property manager has received a water bill for the period that you were a tenant, the charge can be reclaimed from you. Similarly, if the final electricity charge relates to the period of your tenancy, that is payable by you. You mention the broken pipe. While you’re living in the property you are in the best position to notice a water leak and bring it to your landlord’s attention for repair. It is in your best interests to bring it to the landlord’s attention as soon as possible, thereby minimising your own costs. If the landlord or property manager is then a bit slow in responding and having the leak attended to, then you may negotiate what you feel is a more reasonable portion for you to pay in such circumstances. If you have an issue, discuss it with the property manager. If you can’t agree, the Tenancy Tribunal process is there to sort out your dispute.

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