Pool pump charges

Question from Kristy updated on 18th May 2018:

Our tenants are using a house which has a swimming pool. The tenants have advised the pool pump is quadrupling the electricity bill. In our tenancy agreement it states Tenant’s Maintenance Duties and Costs “Pay all charges for electricity, gas, telephone and metered water and wastewater”.

However, they are questioning this because in the Residential Tenancies Act S39 it says: "Responsibility for outgoings (1) The landlord is responsible for all outgoings in respect of the premises that— (a) are incurred whether or not the premises are occupied."

Given they consider one half to three-quarters of their electricity bill is the pool filtering system are they entitled to compensation? What is the law here? Who pays for this electricity? The pool pump has to be run or the pool will turn green.

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants are responsible for all outgoings including electricity, gas, and water, if the costs are charged only as a result of the tenants living in the house or using any of the facilities that are part of the rental and for the tenants exclusive use, for example a pool, spa or sauna. Any costs that still have to be paid when a tenant isn’t living in the house would be the landlord’s responsibility.

If a tenant chooses to rent a house that comes with a pool then it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep that pool reasonably clean and tidy during the tenancy, unless the landlord has agreed to be responsible for this. Further information regarding responsibility for outgoings can be found on our website here. For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz or subscribe to our e-newsletter Landlord News.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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