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Charging for Water - Unity Water

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Angel, 18th Apr, 2016.

  1. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    I am looking for some advice about how to word the lease so I can charge my tenants as much as possible for their water. Its a house in Qld and is billed by Unity Water, which charges the owners in such as way that it seems ambiguous about what can legally be passed on to the tenants.
    Thanks
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't matter what or how the utility invoices you, it comes down to the legislation (tenancies act) - the standard or reia lease has the maximum recovery allowed.

    You must provide a compliance Certificate (in some states) & can only charge metered usage most states.
     
  3. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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  4. Matt E

    Matt E Member

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    Hi Angel, owners are allowed to seek reimbursement for water usage but not connection or account fees, which are assumed to be a part of owners' general responsibility to provide water and sewerage services for their property.

    It's generally easy to distinguish between the two - looking at the water bill, some of the charges will be calculated by multiplying a rate against the actual water usage. These are the charges you can pass on to your tenant. The other fees are standard service fees and can't be passed on. Any PM should be able to assist you with this.

    If you're uncertain, a plumber would be able to provide a report whether the taps are water efficient without much difficulty.
     
    DiligentPM likes this.
  5. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I think Angel knows all this and I can only assume this bill from a different water supplier might be worded differently to others that make it quite clear what is infrastructure and what is "usage". Is that the problem Angel?
     
  6. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    Yes Wylie. There is some rather limited knowledge in these responses (rolls eyes) Don't these people think I can read plain English on the RTA website and its lease document?
    This particular property consumes less water than is typical for the region. Attached are two consecutive Unity Water accounts for those of you who have never seen one before. You can see that the Fixed Access Charge is a different amount each time, because it is variable.


    There is the State bulk water price. This amount is variable.
    There is the Variable usage charges
    There is Fixed access charges. This charge is variable, not fixed. It is determined by how much water is consumed. Therefore it is not a fixed price. Can we charge for it? According to the legislation, I believe yes. But I haven't spoken personally to my tenants yet, I will raise it later in the year.

    When we read the tenancy agreement, you will notice that it mentions fixed charges, water usage and water consumption charges. (Section 17)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    17 Water service charges – ss 164 and 166


    (1) The tenant must pay an amount for the water consumption charges for the premises if –

    (a) the tenant is enjoying or sharing the benefit of a water service to the premises; and

    (b) the premises are individually metered for the supply of water or water is supplied to the premises by delivery by means of a vehicle; and

    (c) this agreement states for item 12.2 that the tenant must pay for water supplied to the premises.


    Note – A water consumption charge does not include the amount of a water service charge that is a fixed charge for the water service.



    (2 However, the tenant does not have to pay an amount –

    (a) that is more than the amount of the water consumption charges payable to the relevant water supplier; or

    (b) that is a fixed charge for the water service to the premises.


    (3) Also, the tenant does not have to pay an amount for a reasonable quantity of water supplied to the premises for a period if, during the period, the premises are not water efficient for section 166.


    Note – For details about water efficiency, see the information statement.


    (4) In deciding what is a reasonable quantity of water for subclause (3), regard must be had to the matters mentioned in section 169(4)(a) to (e).


    (5) The tenant must pay the amount of the charge to the lessor within 1 month of the lessor giving the tenant copies of relevant documents about the incurring of the amount.


    (6) In this clause –

    water consumption charge, for premises, means the variable part of a water service charge assessed on the volume of water supplied to the premises.



    Note – If there is a dispute about how much water (or any other service charge) the tenant should pay, the lessor or the tenant may attempt to resolve the dispute by conciliation.


    See the information statement for details.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Zepth

    Zepth Member

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    I don't think you will be able to get away with passing the access charges, even if they change based on how much the tenant uses. They are clearly marked on the bill as 'fixed access charges' which the legislation does not allow you to pass on.

    Also look at part 2) (a) which states: (2 However, the tenant does not have to pay an amount –

    (a) that is more than the amount of the water consumption charges payable to the relevant water supplier
     
  8. Zepth

    Zepth Member

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    Looking at the bill again I am trying to see where the fixed access charge is based on water usage. Looks like a daily rate to me
     
  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Put simply - Variable water usage charges ie $72.39 + $18.01

    You cannot charge for variable disposal charges only water usage.
     
  10. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    You guys have pointed out a couple of things that I had not noticed, or had misunderstood. Thanks.

    What is Variable disposal charges? Not a Qld thing?
     
  11. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Angel

    not only does the agency charge water usage it applies a factor (around 80%) of water supplied to waste. So they charge for water down the drain (flushing, washing up, laundry etc).

    In commercial uses where water may go into the product/manufacturing, your waste factor can be quite low depending upon how much goes into the process.

    Same as some councils charge for stormwater as well - others put it on the water services costs.
     
  12. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    That is one of the sewerage charges up here. We get charged 90% by Unity
     
  13. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the 72 odd + 18 odd

    Water is a rip in QLD, funny seeing they get so much of it ! Western NSW is cheaper !

    When you first look, QLD looks attractive. Then once your in, they nickle and dime you too death.

    @Scott No Mates So, how do they meter waste or sewage ? is it still an outhouse & pan :):):)
     
  14. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Your water allocation is individually tagged using microdot technology for identification. When it gets to the outfall, the amount used is determined.
     
  15. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    In Vic the sewage disposal is calculated with an estimate based on water usage - minus an estimated amount for water used for garden etc.

    On my last POPR bill the water usage was 5 kilolitres ($12.94) and sewage disposal was estimated to be 3.75 kilolitres ($7.03).

    Service charges were $126 for the POPR plus the usage above but just $126 for the IP since my tenant pays for water usage and sewage disposal charges.
     
    Last edited: 26th Apr, 2016
  16. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Is on-charging for sewer allowable under Victorian legislation?
     
  17. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    The bills the tenant is required to pay (water and sewage usage) go directly to them from the water supplier - as that part is in their name.

    As a landlord, I only ever get billed for the part I am legally required to pay - i.e. service costs.
     
  18. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    is that for resi or commercial ?
     
  19. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro SE Qld Property Management & Investor Services Business Member

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    Hi Angel,

    We manage properties under Unity Water and I also have property myself under their charging structure. It's just the two charges - State Bulk and Water Usage - that can be passed on provided the other criteria are met.

    - Andrew
     
  20. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    Hi Andrew, there is no actual heading that says "water usage".. What items on the account do you interpret as being water usage?