Water consumption is a major issue in Queensland. As a property investor and landlord, it is important to understand when you can pass on water charges to your tenants – and when you cannot. More importantly, you should decide how you are going to handle the situation before renting a property to a tenant. Although a property management Brisbane company can handle much of this for you, it’s still smart to have a basic understanding.
#1: Premises Must Be Individually Metered
There is no way to pass water charges on to a tenant if the property that they are renting is not individually metered. Therefore, that’s the first thing that has to be taken into account. If you want to hold your tenants responsible for their water charges, you will have to have individual meters installed on each of your rental properties. In the long run, this sort of upgrade could end up saving you a great deal of money.
#2: Premises Must Be Water Efficient
You can’t expect a tenant to pay for their water usage when the property in which they are living is not water efficient. Leaky faucets and pipes and other issues can make a tenant’s water bill unfairly high. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to keep your properties up to par in terms of water efficiency, especially if you would like to pass on water charges to your tenants. It is plain to see why this rule is in effect.
#3: Tenancy Agreement Must Reflect the Arrangement
Like anything else in the world of Brisbane real estate investing, an agreement in which your tenants must pay for their water charges has to be expressed within the terms of the tenancy agreement. That way, there is never any question or doubt about how things are set up. If you decide to start passing on water charges to a tenant in the middle of his lease, you will have to amend the tenancy agreement and he will have to sign a new one. This is why it’s especially smart to make these changes in between leasing periods.
In the event that a unit is individually metered but not water efficient – yet the agreement states that the tenant must pay for his water charges – you and the tenant must come to an agreement about what constitutes reasonable usage. Any amount over that will be the tenant’s responsibility. All of this must be outlined in the tenancy agreement. Otherwise, arguments and disputes could arise down the road. To keep things simple and easy for everyone, then, it definitely pays to keep everything as clear as possible. It’s just one more thing to keep track of as a responsible landlord.