On-charging water

Question from Jeannine updated on 22nd January 2013:

With changes to Auckland's waste water charges impacting Waitakere City properties, we will now have a fixed line charge and volume charge for waste water based on a percentage of water consumed. We understand we are liable for the fixed line charge but can we pass on the volume charge to existing tenants?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

Section 39 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 states that the tenant is responsible for “the following charges, incurred during the tenancy, in respect of the premises: (a) electricity and gas: (b) telephone and Internet: (c) supply of water if the water supplier charges for water provided to the premises on the basis of consumption.” This means that if the local authority charges for water on the basis of a meter reading, then that charge is payable by the tenant. The Act does not mention “new” or “existing” tenant – it only mentions “the tenant”. Therefore, we can conclude that all tenants are responsible for all metered water charges for the supply of water as specified by the local authority. It is unclear whether estimated charges, such as a waste charge based on a percentage of water supplied, can be described as provided to the premises on the basis of consumption. It may be clarified soon by the Tenancy Tribunal.

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