Paying for Service Charges

As a tenant or resident you may be liable to pay for service charges. Any service charges you must pay to the lessor or provider should be listed in your agreement.

General tenancies

You need to pay for any services that you have connected, such as gas, electricity and telephone. The lessor is responsible for paying outgoings such as property rates, taxes and any premiums for the premises. In a general tenancy, if you do not have an individual meter for a service, or the account is not in your name, you can only be required to pay for the service charge if this is stated in the agreement. For shared services that are not individually metered, the agreement should state how your share will be worked out and how you will pay the money. The lessor must not charge you more for the service than the amount charged by the supply authority.

Water charges

You can be charged for water if your agreement states that you must pay for water and the premises are either individually metered, or water is delivered to the premises by a vehicle.

You can only be required to pay the full cost of water consumption if the premises meet water efficiency standards (3 star WELS). This means that all toilets must be dual flush and all shower heads and internal cold water taps must have a flow rate no greater than 9 litres per minute.

If the premises do not meet water efficiency standards, the lessor must pay for a reasonable supply of water. To work out reasonable water use you could contact your local council to find out the average water use in your area.

The amount of water that the lessor agrees to provide should be stated in your agreement. You should only be required to pay for water use above this amount. When you move in, it’s a good idea to record the water meter reading on your Entry Condition Report.

The Entry Condition Report should also state whether the premises meets water efficiency standards. If you are unsure whether the premises meet this
standard, you can request evidence from the lessor.

Moveable dwellings

In you have an individual meter for a service in a moveable dwelling, you can be charged for that service.

Your lessor must not charge you more than the amount charged by the supply authority. If your rent payments include the cost of service charges such as gas, electricity and water, you are entitled to ask the lessor or agent to give you a written statement showing the amount of rent that is attributed to each particular service or facility.

If a service or facility becomes unavailable due to the lessor’s actions, your rent payment can be reduced from the time the service becomes unavailable.

Rooming accommodation If you receive services in rooming accommodation, such as a food service, personal care or other service, your agreement should fully describe the services to be provided and state the components of the rent for each service.

In rooming accommodation, you can only be required to pay for a utility service such as electricity, gas or water if your room is separately metered for the utility. You must not be charged more for the utility than the amount charged by the supplier.

Keep copies of your rent receipts or a record of your rent payments.