Who pays fixed water charge?

Question from Leah updated on 2nd October 2012:

With the recent Watercare changes and new tariff, do I pass on the wastewater volumetric charges to my tenant? Then do I cover the $190 per annum fixed wastewater charge? What if my tenant is not agreeable to this?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

The fixed wastewater charge is definitely a charge for you to pay. It applies to the property and is not related to consumption and so is not a tenant responsibility. Watercare’s guide states there is a volumetric charge per 1000 litres of wastewater that for domestic wastewater. It also states that the wastewater volume is based on an assumption that “on average, 78.5% of water that enters the home goes down the drain”. As this charge is based on average usage, it can’t be attributed to the tenant’s actual consumption as per section 39(4)(c) of the Residential Tenancies Act. One can therefore conclude, it is a landlord charge and not to be passed on to the tenant.

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