NSW new tenancy Legislation becoming effective as at 23rd March 2020

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by P j T, 16th Jan, 2020.

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  1. P j T

    P j T Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sunny Belfield NSW
    Hi Guys,

    Part of the new rules here which have my concerns are to do with dual occupancy with a GF having a Private water meter.
    We have a property serviced by Hunter Water and since our GF has been completed our water rates notices have advised there are 2 dwellings but a single reading. We have a private meter installed by our builder for the GF.
    Our Very good PM has been able to have the GF meter read and adjusted each tenants excess water charges accordingly.(we pay the full bill but our PM only claims back the Amount for water usage which is correct. We have a really good PM ( I mean Really GOOD) and I stand by whatever is decided.

    So the email i received today ;

    Hi Peter,


    Thank you for your email and copy of the latest water bill.


    Please be advised that to date, properties with sub-meters (additional private meters) are read by the Property Manager and water usage bills calculated accordingly for the dwellings accordingly.


    In saying this, over the coming weeks we will be providing our clients with information regarding new tenancy Legislation becoming effective as at 23rd March 2020 which includes new laws regarding properties with sub meters/private meter.


    Tenancy Legislation will no longer allow water usage charges to be passed on to tenants without the charges being as per a supplier's bill for the relevant dwelling. Hence, without Hunter Water providing individual accounts for each dwelling, the tenant cannot be charged for water usage.


    The issue here (as you have touched on in your email) is that Hunter Water will not recognize/read private meters for billing purposes ... and furthermore, it is our understanding that individual Hunter Water meters cannot be installed without separate property titles.


    At this stage - after 23rd March, owners will have to combat this with increasing rental amounts to offset water usage.


    I am happy to discuss this with you further if you have any questions.


    Kind regards,




    what strategy do others here in same situation have? We do not think it necessary to go the strata route just yet.

    Cheers
    Peter T
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back Peter.

    Apply for a second water supply to the property ie 2 Hunter Water meters. Plumber should be able to organise this.

    As the line runs between the two properties, it should be easy enough to terminate the feed and connect to the new mains supply.
     
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  3. kennyboi

    kennyboi Well-Known Member

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    Sydney
    Hi,

    I am wondering where to find the exact wording of this new law in regards to private meters no longer accepted?

    I looked through the pages on fair trading but I can't find mention to private meters.

    Thanks
     
  4. ChrisDim

    ChrisDim Well-Known Member

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    This is the bill that was introduced to the Parliament

    https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bill/files/3558/First Print.pdf

    Look for the below section @kennyboi in red... I can't find the actual Tenancy Act 2019 but if anyone has the link, can you please share? thanks

    Schedule 1 Amendment of Residential Tenancies Act 2010
    No 42
    [1] Section 3 Definitions
    Insert in alphabetical order in section 3 (1):
    break fee—see section 107.
    domestic violence offence has the same meaning as it has in the Crimes
    (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007.
    separately metered means that there is, in respect of residential premises, a
    meter:
    (a) that satisfies an Australian Standard prescribed by the regulations
    dealing with electrical, gas, oil or water metering equipment, and
    (b) that has been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s
    instructions for installation or industry practice, and
    (c) that measures the quantity of electricity, gas, oil or water that is supplied
    to, or used at, only those residential premises, and
    (d) that enables a separate bill to be issued by the supplier for all charges
    for the supply and use of the electricity, gas, oil or water at those
    residential premises, and

    (e) if the meter is to measure the supply of electricity—in respect of which
    an NMI, within the meaning of the National Energy Retail Law (NSW),
    has been assigned, and
    (f) if the meter is to measure the supply of gas—in respect of which an
    MIRN or a delivery point identifier, within the meaning of the National
    Energy Retail Law (NSW), has been assigned.
     
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  5. kennyboi

    kennyboi Well-Known Member

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    I saw that too. Is this the one that has passed? What does "first print" and "review" mean?
     
  6. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    NSW legislation

    Effective 23/03/20

    Refer to schd 1 for definition of separately metered.
     
  7. kennyboi

    kennyboi Well-Known Member

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    Sydney
    Thanks Scott.

    Has anyone in a house + granny flat situation done the separation with 2 Sydney water meters that can share your experience on what's involved, turnaround time and any actual water service outage for tenants? Thanks
     
  8. Shark

    Shark Member

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    Newcastle
    I don't think you can do separate supply meters where there is a non subdivided situation on a single lot provided by one water connection from what I've seen. I am in this situation also and have relied on sub-meters until now.

    To allow tenants uncapped and unlimited water usage at a landlords expense doesn't pass the common sense or fair and balanced rules for me, either for the protection of landlords or our limited water supply.

    There are a huge amount of properties across NSW where there are multiple residences on a Torrens title lot supplied by one water supply and waste line with sub metering that apparently will need to now have the usage charges absorbed by the owners.

    The Act regulations permit sub-metering for electricity and gas on embedded networks inside the boundary line but water sub metering is not mentioned in this regard.

    This article was an interesting read.

    RTA in Focus: Water usage charges
     
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  9. kennyboi

    kennyboi Well-Known Member

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    Sydney
    Hi, is it true that for smoke alarms under the new amendments, a technician is now required to service the smoke alarm, and new certificate of compliance are needed at the commencement of each tenancy?

    My agent is telling me this but I can't find this must be done by technician and a new certificate of compliance must be required for signing a new lease on that law link or fair trading.

    All I can find is that landlord must make sure smoke alarm works and battery is new. This test and battery change can be done by anyone including the landlord right?

    My current certificate of compliance for the smoke alarm is good till July.
     
  10. G..

    G.. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    NSW
    The only thing I saw in the new legislation regarding who can do something was that it specifies that hard wired smoke alarms must be replaced by a licensed electrician.

    I don't believe that there is now, nor has there ever been any legal requirement in NSW for any sort of certificate of compliance. I have never obtained certificates of compliance for any of my rental properties in NSW. Your current "certificate of compliance" would probably only be useful as evidence of when the smoke alarm was last tested.

    The new law (as I understand it - I am not a lawyer) basically says that landlords...
    - must not have any smoke alarms more than 10 years from the manufacture date stamped on the unit.
    - must ensure that batteries are replaced every 12 months, unless they are a long life lithium battery - then they need to be replaced as per the manufacturer's instructions.
    - must ensure that the smoke alarm is "tested" every 12 months and found to be working. My understanding is that pressing the test button and hearing a beep is sufficient for this.
    - must ensure that if a smoke alarm is reported as faulty then it is repaired or replaced within 2 working days (a flat battery is considered a fault in this instance)

    I have heard of many cases where NSW REAs have insisted on a certificate of compliance and claimed that it is required by law. I believe that this is dishonest. Some REAs may insist on a certificate in order for them to manage your property and I have no major issue with that as long as they don't claim that it is a legal requirement.

    You will need to make your own choice about how you fulfil the requirements of the new legislation. If your choice is to pay a contractor to inspect your smoke alarms then you will possibly get some sort of certificate included anyway.
     
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  11. TroySeven

    TroySeven Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Has anyone had any further updates on the issue of the second 'Sydney Water Meter' requirement to legally charged dual occupancy tenants water usage?

    I have now faced this road block with the REA advising I can no longer charge usage on either of the main dwelling or the GF as there are not two seperate "Sydney Water Meters", that can provide seperate invoices.

    The REA has provided me with information from the REINSW on the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 No 42 outlining that:

    separately metered means that there is, in respect of residential premises, a meter—

    (a) that satisfies an Australian Standard prescribed by the regulations (if any) dealing with electrical, gas, oil or water metering equipment, and.......
    ..(c) that measures the quantity of electricity, gas, oil or water that is supplied to, or used at, only those residential premises, and
    (d) that enables a separate bill to be issued by the supplier for all charges for the supply and use of the electricity, gas, oil or water at those residential premises, and

    39 Water usage charges payable by tenant

    (1) A tenant must pay the water usage charges for the residential premises, but only if—
    (a) the premises are separately metered or the premises are not connected to a water supply service and water is delivered to the premises by vehicle, and
    (b) the premises contain water efficiency measures prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this section, and



    I further contacted Sydney Water, they advised that a local plumber can do the pipework and Sydney Water can provide a new Sydney Water Meter free of charge (surely there is a catch).

    Has anyone else done this, experienced this problem or is currently facing this problem.
     
  12. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    The catch is you will be hit for two water supply, usage & sewer charges.
     
  13. TroySeven

    TroySeven Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi Troy,

    Thanks for contacting us.





    This is not a Sydney Water initiative, though the change to residential tenancy laws outlines that for the landlord to charge the tenant water usage the property must be separately metered.

    Fair trading NSW has updated the rules regarding water metering for granny flats and individual meters. The main dwelling and the granny flat now need separate water meters so they can be billed by Sydney Water. The owner will still get one invoice but will have both meters displayed. These water meters can be attached to the same connection, however will be read and recorded by Sydney Water individually for owners to bill their tenants for water usage. The owner of the property does not have to do this unless they want to bill their tenants for water usage.

    Sydney water are property based so we only bill the owner directly and do not deal with the tenant or the water usage charges that are passed onto the tenant.





    Please contact Fair Trading NSW for further information 13 32 20 8:30am - 5pm Weekdays. I have included some links for you to look at and hope the information I have found is helpful. You just need to click on the links below.



    https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting



    https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/new-residential-tenancy-laws



    https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/Water,-electricity-and-gas-in-rental-properties



    If you would like a second meter through Sydney Water you would need to apply via our Tap in portal which is located on our Sydney Water website. Any required works for the pipework is private and at your expense. The water supply needs to come to a T from the main with one side going to a water meter for the house and the other side going through a water meter for the granny flat.



    If the granny flat is less than 60m2 you will pay one service charge for the fixed services and have 2 itemised meters on the second page showing usage details per meter. If the granny flat is greater than 60m2 you would then be charged for a dual occupancy which means you would pay 2 service charges and have the two itemised meters.



    I hope this information was helpful and has helped with your enquiry.



    Kind regards,


    Nasha ***


    Customer Service Representative
     
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  14. Shark

    Shark Member

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    Location:
    Newcastle
    I wrote to my MP regarding the water metering changes and the potential consequences of the changes upon tenants by way of rents being raised rather than correct usages being passed on, the open ended liability for landlords and the potential for water wastage by tenants upon the environment. In particular I questioned why embedded water networks were omitted from the section where embedded electricity and gas networks were defined and the usage charges for those resources are able to be passed to tenants from sub meter readings under certain criteria.

    I have received a reply from the Minister For Better Regulation and Innovation stating that the feedback on embedded water networks has been referred to the policy unit for review..

    I would urge anyone with a dual occupancy IP to also contact your Member of Parliament about the issues as I feel there may have been an oversight or error made when formulating the changes placing new burden on tenants, landlords and the environment in an effort to reduce complaints where some tenants may have been presented bills for usage that was not from a proper water meter or done by some type of calculation. My dual occupancy IP's have always had water meters attached to each one, they same type of meter as seen on the boundary line. I get the feeling its assumed most landlords have come up with water usage charges by some type of weird means.

    For anyone if the Newcastle/Hunter area, Hunter Water has now also updated their information to suit the changes to the legislation.

    Applying for separate metering - single title multi dwelling properties