Who should pay for water charges?

Question from Jenni Clarke updated on 29th January 2009:

Property Managers, on behalf of Body Corp., pay water bills and pass these bills to landlord who in turn passes them to me for payment as per my tenancy agreement. However, this bill never arrives until well after the due date and therefore after the date available for an early payment discount. I am sure the Property Managers pay this bill on time. Should I have the opportunity to pay the discounted amount as I would if the bill came directly to me?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

A tenant may be required to pay for water charges if the following three conditions are met:
• the premises have a separate water meter
• the written tenancy agreement states that the tenant shall pay for metered water
• the water supplier provides water to the premises on a metered basis.

The landlord can ask the tenant to reimburse the water charges they have paid, whether this is at the discounted rate or the normal rate. I suggest you ask your landlord to give you a copy of the receipt with the water bill so you can ensure you are paying what they have paid to the water supplier. For more advice and information about water charges, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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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