QLD Tenant water charging in QLD - proving water efficiency

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Orion, 28th May, 2020.

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  1. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    How do people go about proving water efficiency in QLD?

    Water charging | Residential Tenancies Authority

    Water charging fact sheet | Residential Tenancies Authority

    Does your property manager insist on a 'certificate of water efficiency' from a plumber before they charge for water?

    Or do you plan on proving water efficiency another way (through receipts, packaging, instruction manuals and/or build dates (when only WELS 3 star are the only appliances available)) if required?

    I ask because my interpretation of those links tell me the certificate is 'good idea', but not mandatory, and that the other ways are fine.

    I can understand in the event of a dispute you'll wish you had one but it's not a must have to begin charging (and a waste of money if there is never a dispute on the properties water efficiency and the tenant pays just fine).

    Not to mention all it takes is a tenant to remove one washer and the whole property becomes non-compliant... to have a check done every tenancy seems overkill as they run at $150-200 minimum and sometimes up to $300 when they 'find something'.
     
    Last edited: 28th May, 2020
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  2. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    From the first link. Underline emphasis added:
     
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  3. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    From the second link.
    Note - it says 'such as', indicating it's a suggestion on the list of things you could provide.
     
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  4. Pumpkin

    Pumpkin Well-Known Member

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    I dont have an answer to your question.
    But I often question why Owners want to charge water to Tenants... It is cumbersome and clunky, and you can only charge usage, not fixed-charges. It's worse with Queensland as the water bills come 3-4 months after the reading!
    So you really need to ask youself: does it worth it?
     
  5. Antoni0

    Antoni0 Well-Known Member

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    Because when tenants don't pay for water they usually don't worry if they're wasting it and you can end up with a $500-plus bill just in water usage every quarter and I'd rather the money in my pocket as I'm not the user. This is the type of rubbish you got to face with some tenants, at least if they're paying for it they are aware how much it can cost.
    It was recommended by my PM but I had a brand-new home done in 2005 and the plumber charged around $400, I think he replaced stuff but the house was already water-wise going by items on my sales contract but you know how it goes, everyone wants a free feed.

    I do believe you can do it yourself and it if the tenants change stuff that's their problem and I would think some responsibility would need to go back on the PM if things are changed on your home without your authorisation. You can check everything yourself with a watch and bucket and maybe photograph the taps and shower heads, I've found most tenants remove the restrictors from the showers.
     
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  6. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    Both good points.

    For me personally, I have a PM that insists a 'certificate of water efficiency' (plumbers report) is required. They recommend one at the start of each lease.

    I have challenged them on this requirement to no avail.

    I've only got a 6 month lease, so it sounds like I might be paying $200 for a certificate to be able to charge $200 of water usage to the tenants.

    Sounds like it's not worth the hassle.

    However, if their 6 monthly bill is excessive, or they stay on longer, then I'd wish I had the certificate done...

    I wish the QLD government and water companies would get their act together and just bill the tenants directly. Or alternatively, make water free for everyone.
     
  7. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    if you cant be bothered billing tenants 4 times per year for water say $800-$1000 pa, then you have too much money or youre not a good business person
     
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  8. Pumpkin

    Pumpkin Well-Known Member

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    How much is the rent for this amount of water usage? Are you sure that doesnt include Fixed Charge?
    How much do you have to spend to ensure it is consistently "water efficient"

    We build this into the Rent, and have imposed a Maximum usage limit, and have never had anyone exceed that limit.
    If you compare Cost vs Benefit, then factoring my time (precious), not to mention the delay in getting QUU bills, I think we are ahead.
     
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  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    If the property is not water efficient, you cannot charge usage. Even if you provide a maximum usage, if it is not water efficient, you cannot charge usage.

    If you install quality fittings (it is only noticable in the shower), then a tenant has no excuse to modify any of your fixtures to make the shower experience better.
     
  10. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    i think it would be a fair guess that most peoples quarterly USAGE bill is anywhere between $150-$300 per quarter (obviously more if its a family of 6)

    if the figures work, then thats good, but rent inclusive of water usage is more common for shorter term stays, student accomodation or units that have no individual meters

    Once your property is deemed compliant, it stays compliant unless you start modifying plumbing, plus you cant pass on water charges without compliance certs

    peoples time value is different, if you feel ahead, thats all that matters
     
  11. Mill

    Mill Well-Known Member

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    @Orion last time I looked into this a water efficiency certificate from a plumber was the preferred method but not the only. You can demonstrate efficiency with receipts etc but I find the certificate is the clearest option

    I was under the impression you only need a water efficiency certificate once, not for every new tenant or lease renewal.
     
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  12. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Property Manager Business Member

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    Here's my 1-pager, (for non-strata titled property just ignore the irrelevant bits, the principal remains the same). IMO, if you can you must and should charge your tenant usage. If you cannot because of the dwelling setup, you must try and bundle it in with the rent to get a premium but use as selling point so you're also not shooting yourself in the foot - nothing is free. Water compliance cert is around $100 + materials. Do it once, use it, onus on tenant to prove it's not compliant against your evidence at xCAT, if they've made the property non-compliant well that's another issue they're now walked into and assisted you, bottom line have your ducks in a row re: records and record keeping.
    Nb. some shires don't use tiers and others are slightly different, the below is for the majority of rentals I manage, I happily give this same 1-page to tenants when they want to argue with me, which is not often.

    upload_2020-5-28_16-31-18.png
     
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  13. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I would move to a different PM.
     
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  14. Antoni0

    Antoni0 Well-Known Member

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    One family of 4 adults and 1 child under 12 months and it's been around $300 for the last 3 quarters with these Tenants. Other IP's we have, 2 adults and 1 child under 5 always around $200/quarter and 3 older Adults around $144/quarter

    water charge.PNG
     
  15. gman65

    gman65 Well-Known Member

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    My PM organised a plumber to come out.. $120 and I got the certificate. Taps had been replaced in the last 15 years so no extra costs.

    It also has to be stipulated on the lease that you are going to be charging them for water usage, or you can't charge them (so I made sure when I got new tenants this was on their lease)

    Seems like a no brainer for > $400 less expenses on the property a year.
     
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  16. My House QLD

    My House QLD Well-Known Member Business Member

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    It could be worth it when there is big family living in the property, lets say Mum and Dad and four kids. If the LL is paying for water they can stand in the shower as long as they like and water the lawn as much as they like too, the poor LL ends up paying! I would never have an IP without the certificate, it does not cost much to do usually.

    (I could tell you a story about a tenant in Brisbane who was filling a 1000L shuttle each night then taking it to work the next day for his business :eek: the LL did not have the certificate...)
     
  17. Tom Rivera

    Tom Rivera Property Manager Business Member

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    The certificate itself is NOT the requirement. The requirement is that the property is water compliant to the prescribed rating, the certificate just happens to be the best way to prove it.

    This is particularly relevant here because it means you can get a certificate now and consider it retrospective. If the Plumber says the property is compliant and you haven't changed any non-compliant fittings since the last time you had the certificate issued (the lost one), that fairly implies the property has been compliant the whole time. That said, I'm sure there are plenty of QCAT Adjudicators out there who would question this method- it's much safer to have the certificate on file.
    _________________________________________________________

    Certificates dont ever expire, but it's not a bad idea to get them updated every now and then (3-5yrs?) in case anything has been changed. I wouldn't send a Plumber out just to update a cert, get them to write it up at no extra cost when they're already out there doing something else.
    I'd flat out refuse to get a new certificate with every tenancy- that's completely ridiculous. However, I do insist on having one on file- if you don't have one and the tenant challenges the consumption, things get more complicated than they need to be.
     
  18. HUGH72

    HUGH72 Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard of the requirement for a new certificate for each new tenancy, it’s a bit pointless. I would be looking for a new PM if this was an agency requirement. Once the property is compliant and a certificate is issued by a plumber then that should be sufficient, except for major repairs, upgrades and renovations.

    I have an extended family living in a 4 bedroom house in Carina where the quarterly water bill is consistently greater than $500 per quarter. Water is expensive in Brisbane.
     
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  19. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    That is high, even for Brisbane. Is that just the water component, or the total bill?
     
  20. HUGH72

    HUGH72 Well-Known Member

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    Total bill, large extended family. I think it is grandparents, parents and their children living there. At least 6 occupants from memory.