If you are planning to rent a property to a tenant, you have many things to consider as a landlord. One very important thing is to ensure that you have the ability to pass on the costs of water consumption on to the tenant. The easiest way to achieve this is to get in touch with a licensed plumber and work with them to obtain a Water Efficiency Certificate pursuant to the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 s. 86(9).
Due to the fact that there are certain standards that must be met according to the Legislation, the Master Plumbers Association of Queensland has created specific guidelines for a Water Efficiency Certificate and the Landlord or the Real Estate Agent can get in touch with a plumbing company and request that a water compliance certificate be issued for a property.
What are the Minimum Requirements to Charge for Water Consumption?
A landlord is able to pass on the consumption charges for water use in a rental property including the delivery of bulk water if specific criteria is met, including:
- The tenancy agreement sets out the requirement for a tenant to pay the cost of their water consumption.
- The rental property is certified with a Water Efficiency Certificate; and
- The rental property has its’ own water meter that can be read by the civic authorities for the purposes of issuing a bill.
The property owner is responsible for paying all fixed charges and cannot charge their tenant more than what is billable on the water bill statement.
How is Water Efficiency Proved?
A property owner needs to be able to demonstrate that their property is water efficient and the easiest way to achieve that is to provide copies of various documents including:
- Receipts for purchases of plumbing fixtures.
- Warranties or instruction manuals for showerheads and taps.
- Photos of packaging from certain items purchased for upgrades.
- Plumbing reports or certification of compliance.
Upgrading and Updating Your Property
If you would like to get started with updating the plumbing for your property so that you can obtain a Water Efficiency Certificate, you need to get in touch with an experienced and professional plumbing company to work with. Once you obtain that certification you can pass on the costs of water consumption to your tenants. A professional plumbing company can assist you by working with you to get a Water Efficiency Certificate issued.
The steps involved will include:
- The installation of aerators help to restrict the flow of water.
- The upgrade of outlets and taps to prevent leaks.
- Installation of flow restrictors in tap spouts.
- Installation of flow restrictors directly into the tap.
How does a Property Meet the Water Efficient Requirements?
According to the Queensland Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulations, there are several important conditions that must be met in order for a Water Efficiency Certificate to be issued:
- Showerheads must have a maximum flow of 9 litres/minute.
- Internal cold-water taps and single mixer taps must have a maximum flow of 9 litres/minute. This excludes taps for bathtubs and appliances.
- Toilets must have a dual flush function that does not exceed 6.5 litres when fully flushed and 3.5 litres when half flushed. The maximum average flush volume should be 4 litres with 1 full flush and 4 half flushes.
- The rental premises must have an individual meter dedicated to that premise or the water must be bulk water delivered by a water delivery company.
Since you are the landlord and property owner, you are still going to receive the water bill when it is issued. You are to pay the full amount and then pass on a copy of that water bill to your tenants along with a copy of any water consumption reading so that they are able to verify the amount that has been charged. Tenants are never billed directly through water supply authorities. Tenants cannot be charged for sewerage usage charges or fixed access charges.
What are the Guidelines on the Certificate?
The Certificate has certain guidelines set out on it for plumbing work, inspection and finally the issuance of the Water Efficiency Certificate. The plumbing work is to be inspected and documented at each stage, and if that information is not available then records must be looked up or the work must be inspected by the plumbing company.
The main dates required are: the date that the plumbing and drainage were installed under the floor slab, the date the plumbing and drainage were installed below ground level outside of the building, the date plumbing and drainage was connected inside the building and the date the plumbing and drainage work was completed.
If none of the foregoing work was inspected by a plumbing inspector, then there is a statement on the certificate that sets that out. A plan of the work to be completed is created and sent on to the Local Government to meet the requirements of section 143 of the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. The Local Government will keep this documentation together with the information for your property as part of the paperwork that is kept on file about your property.
If you have plans to rent out a property then it is a good idea to consult a professional plumbing company to get an idea of what you will need to have completed in order to bring your property up to the standards required for a Water Efficiency Certificate. You will require this certificate to pass on charges for water consumption on to your tenant. A professional and local plumbing company should be able to take care of all of the requirements for you so that you can have your certificate issued and get on with the business of renting your property to a tenant. It is a good idea to have a proper tenancy agreement in place that includes the costs that will be passed on to the tenant, one of those being water consumption costs.
Refined Plumbing provides Water Efficiency Audits so contact us today!
Original article by Refined Plumbing Sunshine Coast