Upon taking over the management of a property it surprises me how often owners are not collecting all income they are entitled to. Water usage is just one example.
Can a Landlord Charge for Water? Under NSW legislation, landlords must fit water efficient features such as certified shower heads and taps before they can pass on water charges to tenants.
Water efficiency is not as straightforward as changing a washer, there are number of laws that are helpful to understand.
Tenants in an individually-metred dwelling are required to pay for all water consumption charges unless negotiated otherwise. However, tenants living in premises with shared metres, for example in apartments, do not pay for water.
There is the option of installing privately read meters in apartments to allow the invoicing of water to the tenants. In all cases, it is illegal for landlords to add any mark-up to water charges.
Keeping it Legal
The NSW legislation has strict conditions as to how landlords can pass on water charges. So landlords need to keep updated. If you don’t have the time to invest in this research you could consider leaving the charging of water and other aspects of your investment property in the capable hands of a property manager. Professional managers are fully acquainted with the rules and regulations, saving landlords the time and effort, and minimising the risk of not being able to claim the water usage at all.
Simple and Cost Effective Ways to Improve Your Property’s Water Efficiency
- Consider water-efficient showerheads if your existing showerheads need replacing (By using around one-third of the water, these showerheads can save more than $200 a year on bills)
- Fitting aerators to your taps – inside and out – can limit water flow, and therefore reduce water use
- By watering your garden wisely, you can reduce water use. Try:
- mulching, which assists gardens to retain water
- regular weeding, to stop weeds draining moisture
- watering early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation
- encourage plants to put down deep roots by giving them occasional deep soaking rather than frequently light watering
- water the roots of your plants rather than the leaves
- water gradually so the water has time to soak in. Flooding one spot can cause run-off and make soil water resistant
- When it comes time to replace a toilet, opt for a certified water efficient dual flush model which can save 51 litres per person daily
The benefits of taking steps to improve a property’s water efficiency are obvious when you consider a leaky tap that drips once a second will waste 12,000 litres a year.
By improving the overall water efficiency of a property, a landlord can create an additional selling point for the property, and increase the attractiveness of their property on the rental market. For more information visit: www.northernrivers.harcourts.com.au