Reading into water

Question from Greg updated on 27th June 2013:

I am thinking of installing water readers in a block of six flats we own (as opposed to water metres which are too expensive). I appreciate I can't charge water for existing tenancies as it states no water charge - however can I bill tenants for future tenancies duly apportioning the water charge per the water reader for their unit? Assuming future tenancy agreements require tenants to pay water. Could you please also advise on this situation re the unit we own and live in as the body corporate has charged us our hot water supply on a unit entitlement basis as some of the water readers in the block are said to be not functioning (apparently it's now rectified). Our hot water cost has been an average of $25.97 per quarter over the last year but we been billed $139.71 for this quarter. The body corporate state they are apportioning on a unit titles basis in this instance as prescribed in The Unit Titles Act. Is this correct and what are our rights?

Our expert Ollie Mitch responded:

Provided future tenancy agreements include water as an outgoing payable by the tenants then yes you would be entitled to charge them based on the water readers. Secondly, the water is a common service and the expense for the service can be apportioned in accordance with the unit entitlements. While the readers are functional then the owners can be billed according to usage. If the water readers are not functioning, the body corporate is entitled to revert to unit entitlements to apportion water costs.

Ollie Mitch is head of sales at Iconicity, leading apartment investment specialists and the largest private buyer and seller of apartments in Auckland City. Phone 09 300 5073, email or visit

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