Who Pays the Water Bill, the Landlord or Tenant? Auckland Property Management
There’s a lot of confusion out there with landlords and tenants about who pays what when it comes to Watercare’s water bills. The first thing you need to know is Watercare is an organization owned by the Auckland City Council. It takes care of the water supply and treatment throughout the Auckland region. It also controls the billing of water rates throughout the Auckland region.
Do Tenants Pay Water Bills?
Most properties will have their own water meter and Watercare account. Watercare’s invoices are made up of two amounts. There’s a volumetric charge, which is based on how much water actually comes into the property and how much has gone down the drain, and there is the fixed charge, which is an amount that stays the same each month. The idea behind the fixed charge is, it funds the overall Watercare network maintenance.
Under the Residential Tenancy Act 1986, tenants are responsible for the water charges when it is measured on a volumetric basis (as is the case in Auckland). However, Tenants can’t be charged for water rates if the charges can’t be exclusively attributed to them. For example, if you’re a landlord and you have four flats but only one meter, you cannot charge tenants for water consumption because you cannot tell how much water each tenant is using.
Landlord Water Responsibilities
Landlords are liable for outgoings at a property that would exist regardless of whether or not a tenant was in the property. This means that the fixed charge cannot be passed onto the tenant and must be paid for by the Landlord.
Handling Landlord Utility Bills
The best way to handle your Watercare bill is for the landlord or the property manager to pay Watercare directly for the full amount of the invoice. That means the bill gets paid in full without any overdue fees or notices. Then, you can send a separate invoice to the tenant based on the amount of their volumetric consumption of water & wastewater. This ensures the landlord pays for the fixed charge, in accordance with the law.