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Can tenants of my investment property be charged for water consumption?

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  • April 12, 2017
Sam Price from Templeton Property Paddington Brisbane

Hi and thanks for joining us today for Episode 2 of Property Management Q&A with Sam Price from Templeton Property. The question we’ll be answering today is “Can tenants of my investment property be charged for water consumption?”. The answer is yes – sometimes.


How you decide whether you can charge tenant water consumption/water usage is, first of all to work out if the property is individually metered. To do that, you get the Urban Utilities Invoice, flip it over to the back and have a look at the top section that says ‘Your Metre Readings’. If there’s two water metre readings there and it explicitly states the consumption for those two water metre readings, then the property is individually metered.

However, if the water metre readings are there, but it says underneath ‘Your Share’ or ‘Your Percentage Share’ of the total consumption, that means the property is not individually metered and unfortunately, you can’t charge the tenant for water consumption.

If the property is individually metered, the next step is to decide how much can be charged. There’s two options available. One is you can charge excess water. That can be charged to tenants, to any property that’s individually metered. At Templeton Property, we work on an average daily consumption of 207 litres, which is the current average consumption per day and that’s the amount of water that tenants are able to use for free and included in the rent, and over and above that amount is what can be charged for. Therefore the tenants are provided with a free amount of water to do the gardening and for everything else water is used for and the balance is the amount that they pay for if the allocated amount is exceeded.

The next option is to charge the full water consumption, which is our preferred option. There’s no reason why these days not to charge 100% water usage, though to do this, the property must be 3-star WELS water-efficient. How do you determine if the property is water-efficient? It’s best to get a plumber in and they’ll do a water audit and will give you a quote to make the property water-efficient if it’s not. Also – it’s usually not too expensive. Usually, the big cost is if a new toilet or toilets  are required.

We are recommending to all our clients that they make their properties water-efficient so they can charge their tenants water use, which is very fair, just like electricity and gas and so forth. Keep in mind when looking at the Urban Utilities bill you can only charge the tenant the water consumption component and not the fixed provision charges, so it’s only normally about half of the bill that can be charged.

Thanks for tuning into Property Management Q&A #2 with Sam Price from Templeton Property, Brisbane’s favourite property manager and buyer’s agent.

At Templeton Property, our property manager’s and buyer’s agents go above and beyond to secure the best outcomes for our clients. Discover more about we can assist you by calling us today on 07 3368 1988 or Sam Price directly on 0418 159 993 to discuss your needs.