Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Ask RiotACT

Charity and fundraising auctions for the Canberra community

Average water bills for a small family?

By stewburt - 17 August 2011 16

We’ve been renting and the landlord has been paying the water bills. We’re thinking of moving to a different rental.

First question, is it normal for water to be included in the rent?

Second question, what’s a typical water bill for a small family (2 adults one young child)? We don’t water the garden….

Thanks…Stewart

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
16 Responses to
Average water bills for a small family?
Xunlyn 10:43 pm 18 Aug 11

djk said :

wooster said :

In the ACT, ALL residential tenancies agreements (leases for houses) are subject to one set of standard terms.

Unless you make an application to the ACAT, these standard terms cannot be changed. They are designed to protect lessees (particularly the vulnerable) from manipulative lessors.

I believe you are incorrect – see section 8 of the Residential Tenancies Act. While all ACT tenancy agreements must contain all of the terms set out in your link, the parties may add additional terms which are “consistent with the standard residential tenancy terms”.

What this means would be open to interpretation, but I would say as long as it is not directly contradicting one of the required terms, it should ok. A lot of property managers have their own page or pages of terms that they incorporate into your tenancy agreement when signing.

Yeah, when I was renting there were a few terms at the end that had been added to the standard agreement supposedly because of previous incidents. One of those specifically stipulated that dirty dishes were not to be washed in the bathtub.

phil m 5:49 pm 18 Aug 11

Places under a body corporate won’t pay for water usage as there is a single water meter for all homes (so who can tell who used what water?).

Other places can charge you for the water usage. Make sure you see a copy of the bill. Some landlords may not bother, others might have a threshold (costs of raising an invoice vs the actual fee).

I am a single renter and seem to use exactly 18kL every quarter. I have no idea how, but I’ve checked my meter and the readings are always right. So $32 for me.

In my first quarter my landlord thought I might want to pay for the water usage from the previous tennant. The bill covered 3 months but I only was there for 1.5 I sent them an email about that, and they just said don’t worry about paying this time and agreed on a $25 threshold for future.
Seems fair.

djk 12:18 pm 18 Aug 11

wooster said :

In the ACT, ALL residential tenancies agreements (leases for houses) are subject to one set of standard terms.

Unless you make an application to the ACAT, these standard terms cannot be changed. They are designed to protect lessees (particularly the vulnerable) from manipulative lessors.

I believe you are incorrect – see section 8 of the Residential Tenancies Act. While all ACT tenancy agreements must contain all of the terms set out in your link, the parties may add additional terms which are “consistent with the standard residential tenancy terms”.

What this means would be open to interpretation, but I would say as long as it is not directly contradicting one of the required terms, it should ok. A lot of property managers have their own page or pages of terms that they incorporate into your tenancy agreement when signing.

wooster 9:39 am 18 Aug 11

Hi Troll-sniffer

Having had quite a bit of exposure to various state and territory residential tenancies acts around australia, I have to say that Lutons is having you on.

In the ACT, ALL residential tenancies agreements (leases for houses) are subject to one set of standard terms.

Unless you make an application to the ACAT, these standard terms cannot be changed. They are designed to protect lessees (particularly the vulnerable) from manipulative lessors.

The standard terms are in Schedule 1 of the RTA – http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/rta1997207/ – Go to the bottom

Of this I am 100% certain – the lightbulbs and washers situation described, I can assure you, is not true – the lessor (Landlord is responsible).

On the question of water, I had always been under the impression that it was the Landlords responsibility – though on this point my memory is hazy. Try a Ctrl-F for ‘Water’ in the Schedule referred to above.

Anyway I have to get back to work – but fight the good fight chaps.

Pip pip

troll-sniffer 9:12 am 18 Aug 11

JC said :

What I don’t quote follow when it comes to water and sewerage is why the landlord pays for the service supply and the tenant the usage, however when it comes to gas and electricity the tenant pays for both the supply and usage? What is the difference?

All I can think of is at some point in the past water supply and sewerage extraction charges were part of the normal rates notice, which is paid by the landlord.

Historically the supply of water and sewerage has always been a different charge to the consumption. Until a couple of decades ago it was rare for a careful user to get a water bill as the first significant dollop was included in the supply charge.

Conversely, the supply of electricity (and gas has followed the trend) was always a consumption-only charge, the supply costs being built into the per KWh charge. When they started charging for supply separately to consumption, the status quo didn’t change as far as the renters’ bills were concerned.

So it would appear that technically you could ask your landlord to pay for the supply component of electricity and gas. Whether you’d find your lease being renewed would be another matter.

When I owned a suburban house and rented it out, I would always stipulate that I was responsible for the first xx dollars of the water bill, (supply plus reasonable garden needs) and the tenant was to pay anything over that. Nothing like a financial penalty to ensure hour long shoowers are the exception, and leaking taps are attended to promptly!

Which bringeth me to another matter a bit off-topic, a friend who rents through Lutons recently paid for a plumber to fix leaky washers, and when I queried it as the landlords’ responsibility, they said that Lutons had inserted it in their lease that along with lightglobes it was the tenants’ responsibility. I have always believed that other than lightglobes, virtually every item that is subject to wear and tear in a rental is the landlords’ responsibility to attend to. Anyone have knowledge on this?

time_killer 9:09 am 18 Aug 11

luther_bendross said :

I too had been wondering about this for a while. I rented for a while in different states and territories and don’t recall ever seeing a water bill. We’ll be renting out our place soon-ish so this is pretty interesting. In the ACT at least, the owner is responsible for annual supply charges, but the tenant is responsible for all usage. It’s on page 95 of this pdf.

The landlord can claim water and sewerage supply charges against their income when doing their tax, so they don’t pass the costs onto the tennant.

housebound 8:51 am 18 Aug 11

I suspect it comes down to soem obscure interpretation of rates. An accountant once told me we could claim gas and electricty on tax for a home-based business, but not water.

luther_bendross 8:48 am 18 Aug 11

I too had been wondering about this for a while. I rented for a while in different states and territories and don’t recall ever seeing a water bill. We’ll be renting out our place soon-ish so this is pretty interesting. In the ACT at least, the owner is responsible for annual supply charges, but the tenant is responsible for all usage. It’s on page 95 of this pdf.

JC 8:36 am 18 Aug 11

What I don’t quote follow when it comes to water and sewerage is why the landlord pays for the service supply and the tenant the usage, however when it comes to gas and electricity the tenant pays for both the supply and usage? What is the difference?

All I can think of is at some point in the past water supply and sewerage extraction charges were part of the normal rates notice, which is paid by the landlord.

still_strange 6:38 pm 17 Aug 11

You will normally be billed for any utility usage when it is separately metered. Unlike with gas and electric, most flats and many townhouses don’t have separate water meters for each residence, so you can not be billed so it will be included in the rent.

dks00k 5:36 pm 17 Aug 11

Hi

I would think you should consider yourself lucky. We have always had to pay for water usage in our rental properties both here and in NSW. Landlord pays the Sewerage and water Supply charge, tennant pays the water consumption.

We have 2 adults and a 5 year old and water the lawn occassionally in the Summer. Our water usage averages 550 litres per day, (not more than 600 in summer) which at $2 per kL is roughly $100 per quarter. Thats when the bills come quarterly but I guess thats another story………

David

enrique 5:35 pm 17 Aug 11

From the Act…

Tenant’s costs
46 The tenant is responsible for all charges associated with the
consumption of services supplied to the premises, including
electricity, gas, water and telephone.

So, if they want you to pay for actual usage costs they should be sending you a copy of the bill and getting you to pay for it.

It may sound easier but probably wouldn’t be accurate if they just charged you a lump sum as part of your rent – either one of you will end up out of pocket depending on the actual usage.

Lissy 5:34 pm 17 Aug 11

I have rented in the ACT for seven years and have never received a water bill.

Sheridan 5:25 pm 17 Aug 11

renters pay for water consumption but not for supply charges or sewage.

our real estate send us a copy of the water bill when it comes each quarter which illustrates our water consumption. it’s not included in our monthly rent, we pay for it each quarter separate from the rent.

our water consumption is usually $50 a quarter, and the supply and sewage is another $150 on top of that.

we have a three bedroom house, but no kids and we don’t water the garden either.

enrique 5:12 pm 17 Aug 11

Not normal, in fact – it’s probably legislated that it is the landlord’s responsibility (I’m speculating)

Inform yourself by having a look at the actual legislation here: http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1997-84/default.asp

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site