Volumetric wastewater?

Question from Daniel updated on 9th October 2012:

Manukau City has moved to the new waste water charges under the Watercare system from July 1. Can you confirm if we can charge tenants for the volumetric waste amount?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

This question has arisen in many forms lately. There is a variety of opinion about the chargeability of wastewater charges. However, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 is quite specific. Section 39 (4) (c) states that the tenant is responsible for “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 the supply of water on the basis of a meter reading, that charge is payable by the tenant. It is arguable whether wastewater is actually supplied. I would think it is not, as wastewater is removed from the property. Also, wastewater charges based on a percentage of supply or an estimate (rather than measurement) do not accurately record actual wastewater volume. So we can conclude that unmetered wastewater charges remain the responsibility of the property owner.

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