Water Charges… Are You Missing Out?

Like any investment, there are ways to maximise your return… and there’s a risk of missing out.  Property owners in the Gympie region should have now received their rates notices and might be inclined to grumble and groan, pay it and file it away.  But investors should stop and ask themselves (or their property manager), “Should I be invoicing my tenant for water usage?”

Properties serviced by town water fall into 2 categories – Water Efficient or Not Water Efficient – and the category determines how much you can on-charge to your tenant.

So, what is water efficiency?

A rental premises is considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet the standards listed in the table below.

Water efficient devicesMinimum water efficient standard required
Internal cold water taps and single mixer taps (excluding bathtub taps and taps for appliances)A maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute
ShowerheadsA maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute
ToiletsA dual flush function not exceeding 6.5 litres on full flush and 3.5 litres on half flush and a maximum average flush volume of 4 litres (based on the average of 1 full flush and 4 half flushes)

The requirement for taps applies only to internal cold water taps that are installed over a hand basin, kitchen sink or laundry trough (including single mixer taps). The requirement does not apply to other taps in the premises such as bath tub taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps which supply washing machines or dishwashers. These taps are not required to be water efficient.

Steps for Charging Tenants for Full Water Usage

  • Ensure that your property meets the water efficiency standards as outlined above.  It’s best practice to secure a plumber’s report as proof.
  • Ensure that the lease agreement clearly states that the tenant is responsible for paying full water usage
  • Ensure that a water meter reading is taken at the beginning of the tenancy.  It’s best practice to take a photo as evidence and as part of your entry condition report photographs
  • Once you receive your rates notice, an invoice is to be issued to the tenant with 28 days to pay

What About Properties That AREN’T Water Efficient?

You can still on-charge anything over a ‘reasonable’ amount of water usage.  The amount deemed reasonable isn’t set in stone anywhere however at Welcome Home Rentals we set the level at 225kl per annum.  Anything over and above this amount, we can invoice the tenant for but again it MUST be clearly stated in the lease agreement.


Want more information?  Head over to the RTA website factsheet at:  https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/Resources/Fact-sheets/General-tenancy-fact-sheets/Water-charging-fact-sheet