Propertyscouts Manukau

Water, water everywhere - 15th Jun 2017

Water, water everywhere Water being sold overseas is the talk of the nation with it classed as the hot topic for election time. Thinking about how precious clean water is, got me thinking about rental properties (hey, most topics get me thinking about rental properties) especially in Auckland.
If you are a tenant renting in Auckland, you may be passed a water bill and I just wanted to clarify what this means and your rights or responsibilities (if in doubt, always check it out).
First things first, the bill is made up of two major parts - fixed charges and estimated (or Actual) usage. Fixed charges belong to the landlord, this is their portion of the bill and for any landlords reading, contact watercare to get the fixed charges paid once a year so that the entire bill then belongs to the tenant... so much simpler. When you receive your water bill, take a look at the usage - this is the tenant's portion of the bill and needs to be paid additionally to the rent. Like Power Companies, Watercare do a good job estimating how much water has been used and the household size but keep in mind, it is still just a guess. Usually you will get an accurate reading once every 2-3 months so that you can be billed correctly every quarter. If you think there's a leak, do look for it, the faster these can be fixed the easier and safer for both parties - here are some simple tips to find if you have a leak; 

  • Taps/Sinks - dry the basin and put the plug in, do this last thing at night then check first thing in the morning. Obviously a dripping tap needs to be fixed so alert your property manager as soon as possible.
  • Toilets - Open the tank lid, put 10 drops of food colouring in and replace the lid, Wait at least 15-30 mins (without flushing the toilet) and check the toilet bowl, any colour and you have a leak.
  • Outside - Look (and feel) for portions of your property that are always wet.Look at your driveway, curb or street for evidence of water flow. The evidence may not be a steady stream of water; it may only be a puddle that never dries up, or a darker spot (as in what happens when water is spilt on dry concrete).
Like your rent, it is important to keep your water bill paid on time, if you have a good property manager, they should email you a copy of the water bill and the due date. If you have any concerns, email or talk to your property manager - we're here to help.

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