Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Water usage charges and backup plan

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by dabbler, 7th Feb, 2016.

  1. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    Hi All,

    Have not had any problem in the past, but I did have an issue with a bill not getting to me, tenant not charged, by the time bill got to me (6 months late) the tenant related to the usage had left, the main manager said we can't go after them, I am not sure that is right in NSW as it says you must pass bill on within 3 months of getting the bill, not the bill date......they used a lot of water.

    anyway

    I was thinking of if a smarty pants tenant tries to dodge water bill by some means, say by saying a tap was leaking, now I know they can't just make it up, they would not win, but I am thinking of making a condition that if for any reason the full water usage was not chargeable, that tenant must pay any water charges after 30kl, so say they or the agency does not act in the case of a leak, instead of arguing the toss, you could fall back on this.

    Any comment on this idea in NSW, QLD, VIC ?
     
  2. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,579
    Location:
    Australia
    Surely the PM had the meter read at the end of the tenancy to invoice them.

    If not, why not.
     
    JacM likes this.
  3. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    21st Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,346
    Location:
    4/136 The Parade Norwood, South Australia
    you cannot override legislation. It is already in the lease to pay water if invoices are received by tenants within 3 months.

    If there is a water leak tenant is entitled to compensation - I have been involved in tribunal hearings where I offered $5 to tenant for the one week it took to get the drip fixed and tribunal thought that was reasonable.

    If maintenance is reported and an agent does not act on it then the onus is on the agent - if they caused tenant compensation by not acting on water leaks then they are liable not the tenant so putting a clause in the lease for the tenant does not make sense.
     
  4. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    21st Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,346
    Location:
    4/136 The Parade Norwood, South Australia
    This is true - final invoices at the end of a lease are calculated by the final meter reading during an outgoing inspection, not a water bill from the supplier.

    However yes it's correct that a tenant cannot be charged 6 months later.
     
  5. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,379
    Location:
    Somewhere in the land of Oz
    Tell them to take the meter out, or use the neighbours water :p
     
  6. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    Hey Bob, the reason we found out is the water was cut off :) Both lot's had been throwing out any mail accidentally sent to them over the 6mth period. I would not put anything past people with lot's of time to kill.

    @Chilliblue I am not sure what they did, but they are hopeless pretty much, too many places to look after, new staff quite often & not many other choices that are likely to be any better. The current ones do screen tenants and not allow arrears etc, which is more than half the battle. So one of the junior staff made a mistake, or a procedure was not followed or does not exist.

    @Xenia yes, not trying to over ride, but a fall back, say in the case you raised, instead or arguing over the $5 or whatever amount, would default to next best thing, usage over X kl
     
  7. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    21st Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,346
    Location:
    4/136 The Parade Norwood, South Australia
    The thing is that all water usage and supply is payable by the tenant not only above x kl
     
  8. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    I know NSW you cannot charge for supply, only usage, in QLD seems much the same.
     
    Xenia likes this.
  9. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,379
    Location:
    Somewhere in the land of Oz
    Which watery authority? That's hardcore cutting off the water, they must have used a fair bit
     
  10. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    It is regional NSW council who control the water, cannot remember the figure, but it is not very high before they will cut the water.
     
  11. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,579
    Location:
    Australia
    With the existing accounts where the tenant has left, the agency is responsible as a final water meter reading should have been taken by them.

    As to future accounts, instruct your legal representative to have all council and utility accounts to go directly to you and then you can change to your PM at a later date.

    As to water leaks, a reasonable PM will see the increase (or at the least the tenant would complain about having to pay more) and then it can dealt with.

    Unfortunately either the PM takes the responsibility of the water consumption or you do.
     
  12. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    Thanks Chilli, aware of the issues and how it happened, not trying to fix this one, it is already water under the bridge. Have used a number of solicitors over the years, only this one there was a problem, they did everything wrong, the water problem is only minor, this solicitor will not be used again.

    I have a new lease coming up, and that is the one I was going to do something different with, but after thinking of it further, it would probably not work....... *if* there was a leak and tenant was being unreasonable, was thinking falling back to a default of all usage after 30kl be paid for, but after thinking more, if they were that difficult, they would probably argue against that as well, and maybe it is not legal to have both, so will stick to the status quo.

    Cheers all for your help.
     
  13. teddy1

    teddy1 Member

    Joined:
    7th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi All,

    Can someone confirm if the tenants payment for water consumption (In QLD- Urban Utilities) is re-reimbursed to the LL when paying rent for that period and shown on the statement/ledger from the PM?
    I've been asked by the PM to pay for the full invoice for water and sewage from Urban and they will get the tenant to pay the consumption portion...I assume this is paid back to me when paying rent
    Thanks
    Ted
     
  14. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    If the property is compliant with water efficiency requirements (a plumber checks flow rates etc) then you can charge tenant for usage, not sure of QLD law, but other places they get 30 days from when PM invoices them.
     
  15. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,579
    Location:
    Australia
    IN QLD tenants may be charged for water if the premises are individually metered and your agreement states that you must pay for water.

    However, you can only be required to pay the full cost of water consumption if the premises meet water efficient standards as set out in the Act.

    It is advisable that the Entry Condition Report state whether the premises meets water efficiency standards.

    You can only ask a tenant to pay the full cost of water consumption if the premises are considered ‘water efficient’. This means that toilets must be dual flush, and shower heads and all internal cold water taps must have a flow rate no greater than 9 litres per minute.

    I
     
  16. teddy1

    teddy1 Member

    Joined:
    7th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Location:
    Melbourne
    The property is water compliant.
    Can Urban send separate invoices 1 for consumption to PM/Tenant and 1 to me or do all utility suppliers only send one invoice to Owner?
    If so is what I mentioned earlier correct - I pay invoice, PM passes consumption on to tenant who pays along with rent and then funds returned to me?

    Thanks again
     
  17. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,579
    Location:
    Australia
    You can pay the entire account and forward a copy for the PM for the tenants to reimburse you, or

    You have the entire account sent to the PM who sorts it all out with no effort on your part.
     
  18. teddy1

    teddy1 Member

    Joined:
    7th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    12
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi chilliblue,

    Yes, this is what was conveyed to me, fantastic
    Thanks for everyone's help :)
     
    Chilliblue likes this.
  19. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    Sid en e - olympic city
    I think holding the bills and paying yourself is wise, once you know the PM is on top of things, then give it to them to do if your not trying to accumulate points or paying bills with a loan.

    It will also save some accounting if they do it all.

    Regarding compliance, I had a plumber tell me the other day that in QLD the toilet bowl size, or capacity is also counted, never heard this before, dual flush, yes, bowl size......mmm
     
  20. benk

    benk Member

    Joined:
    8th Aug, 2015
    Posts:
    18
    Location:
    sydney
    What happens when the tenant fails to pay after 30 days? What can be done?