Water Consumption FACTS As A Property Owner

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As a Property Manager, I receive a lot of enquiries relating to “Water” from both landlords and tenants asking who is responsible for paying for it and how is this worked out?

It is becoming more and more common for landlords to invest in making their properties compliant so they can pass water consumption charges along to tenants.

What are your water consumption options as a landlord?


Having a ‘Water Compliant Property’ means you can pass all Water Consumption Charges to the tenants, for the water consumed during their tenancy.

A rental premises is considered water efficient if designated water fixtures meet the “WELS rating standard”.

WELS is Australia’s water efficiency labelling scheme. It requires certain products to be registered and labelled by level of water efficiency in accordance with the standard set under the national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act. (Australian Government, Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme, http://www.waterrating.gov.au/about-wels, Nov 11 2015)

The water-using WELS products required are:

  • Showers
  • tap equipment
  • flow controllers
  • toilet (lavatory) equipment
  • urinal equipment
  • clothes washing machines
  • dishwashers

Minimum water efficiency standard also applies to toilets and washing machines.

This means you cannot supply toilets with a higher flow rate than 5.5 litres per average flush volume, and washing machines that are less than 3 stars for a machine 5kg or more capacity, or less than 2.5 stars for a machine less than 5kg capacity. (Australian Government, Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme, http://www.waterrating.gov.au/about-wels, Nov 11 2015).


An Excess Water Consumption property is a property that is individually metered, but is not Water Compliant.

Therefore the tenants are only responsible for the Water Consumption in Tier 2. As of February 2018, Tier 2 is charged at $3.79 per Kilolitre.

An example of this could be as follows:

You, as the Landlord receive your Water Rates Notice from your local Council. The tenants during this 6 month billing period have used a total of 185kilolitres.

Tier 1 is the 1st 100 kilolitres used within a 6 month period – therefor you cannot bill for that.

Tier 2 is the remaining amount of Water (in this case 85 kilolitres). The charges would be calculated.

85 kilolitres x $3.79 = $322.15.

The $322.15 would be billed to the tenants, which they have 30 days to pay to us. We will then reimburse you as the Landlord at your next disbursement.


Facts you need to know as a landlord:

  • We can only bill tenants on your behalf for the past 12 months of Water, so ensuring you send through any Water Bills directly to us as soon as you get them is very important. 
  • Once the Water Bill has been issued to the tenants, they have 30 days to pay the invoice as per the RTA Water Consumption Fact Sheet.

Talk to your Property Manager about organising a quote to make your property water efficient, as requirements may vary for each property.

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Author: Paul Schuster
Job title: Licensed Property Manager
Date: March 2018
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