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Excessive water bill

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by tonyc00, 6th Oct, 2015.

  1. tonyc00

    tonyc00 Member

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    Hi
    I've just received the quarterly water usage invoice for my small townhouse in labrador - the bill was for $700+ (for the quarter). That compares to $300+ for each of the previous quarters.

    As the owner of a property in Queensland it is my responsibility for payment, but do I have any options against the tenants (for excessive usage) or against the managing agents (for not managing the property.).

    Thoughts/ comments would be appreciated.

    Tony
     
  2. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    I'd have thought you have the option to pass the usage if the meter is separate?

    Also check nothing is leaking or broken in the property. It could be an unintended use
     
  3. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    How much of that is supply vs usage?

    A couple of things you can do
    1) Check if there's any leakages in the property contributing to the usage (or ask tenants if a once off high usage period was encountered such as relatives staying over).
    2) Check your lease to see if there's any mention of who's responsible for paying usage. Not sure about Queensland, but in some states its possible to have the tenant cover the usage portion or otherwise set a gigalitre limit that you'll cover and have them cover the excess above that.
     
    Last edited: 6th Oct, 2015
  4. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    You can charge total usage to the tenants if your property is separately metered, is certified as water wise and it is written into the lease. Is this the case?

    If not, do you have anything written into the lease about them paying for excess water?

    If not, then you have to pay it. Do you usually pay the $300+ bills or do you pass it on to the tenants?
     
    Sonamic likes this.
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    What is excess water - if there isn't a metric how do you know that it is excessive?

    In most states the owner pays then claims usage from the tenant.

    Is the pm responsible? Who accepted the recommendation of the tenant?
     
  6. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Excess water is whatever you write into the lease. It needs to be reasonable, but it is a figure nominated and agreed upon in the lease.

    Now we can pass on water usage to the tenant, we don't need that figure. Mind you, we still pay most of the bill. Water is cheap. Infrastructure to get it to the tap is expensive and the landlord gets to pay that.
     
  7. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

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    Yep, typically 2/3rds of the bills is for infrastructure to deliver the water and take away the poo. However a $700 bill would probably consist of $500 usage chargeable to the tenant. There's something seriously wrong if that much water is being used - it's not just a couple of guests.
     
  8. Greyghost

    Greyghost Well-Known Member

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    We got a shock too with our Kingston property.
    Spent the 150 to get it signed off as water wise and now water bill passed on to tenants..
    Saving us $250-$280 a quarter..
     
    D.T. likes this.
  9. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Good stuff, worth the investment

    Here in SA we pass it onto the tenants anyway, even the supply portion in some cases.
     
  10. Jamie_

    Jamie_ Well-Known Member

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    Water bills aren't always right, worth getting someone to check the metreage to make sure its accurate. Our last bill was almost double and it was for this reason, e.g. odo said 11000 and yet they accidentally billed it at 12000 so an extra 1000 litres etc etc
     
  11. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Yup, not only inaccuracy in the data entry but also sometimes just guessing. If they can't get to the meter because of fence/garden/dog/laziness then they're allowed to put down the suburb average.
     
  12. Jamie_

    Jamie_ Well-Known Member

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    These things usually do get fixed, or your next bill will be next to nothing from their mistake.
     
  13. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

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    We had a hidden leak in a unit block. There was no evidence of water leak anywhere yet the meter was going ballistic. Turned out the water pipe was leaking straight into a broken drain pipe.

    Check the water meter at an odd hour, say 2 am, and see what the meter is doing. But keep away from the bedroom windows lol.
     
  14. <JC>

    <JC> Member

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    I would suggest you that get a plumber to do the water efficiency certificate which it can find out the problem plus you have the certificate to show your tenants to pay extra usages.