Water Charges: who pays for what?

Question from David updated on 21st April 2008:

Waste water charges are billed to the landlord by the Council as part of the Water rate invoice as a daily amount. Can this be passed to to the Tenant who has agreed in the Tenancy Agreement to pay for all metered water charges?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 sets out three conditions that must be met before water charges can be passed on to the tenant. These are: the premises must have a separate water meter the tenancy agreement must state at the beginning of the tenancy that the tenant shall pay for metered water supplied to the premises the water supplier must charge for water supplied to the premises on the basis of metered usage. Therefore, a landlord may be able to require the tenant to pay the charges if the waste water is charged on a metered basis, as long as the other conditions are also met. If the waste water cost is a fixed charge and unrelated to usage, the conditions above would not be met and the landlord would be responsible for the charge.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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