Residential Tenancy Act 2010
Know Your Rights. A Must Read For Tenants, Property Managers & Land Lords.
Landlord and tenant rights relating to water efficiencies of a rental property refer to the water usage charges for the property. If the landlord wants to pass these charges onto the tenant then certain national minimal performance standards must be in place, set out by the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (amended 2010).
In addition, a Certificate of Compliance can be obtained from a licenced plumber, stipulating that the rental property also complies with the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. In short, the Water Efficiencies Act sets out the performance standards for specified water-using products using the WELS Scheme (regardless of whether the property is for rent or private use) and the Tenancies Act stipulates that these standards must be in place if a landlord wants a tenant to pay the water usage charges.
Relevant water efficiencies standards
The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 ensures that tenant rights are upheld, meaning that they can’t be charged for unnecessary water usage charges - if the property’s water-using devices are not water efficient. Therefore, for a rental property to be considered water efficient, the rental property’s plumbing must be fitted with certain water efficiency devices.
Specifically in NSW, the showerheads and the internal cold water & single mixer taps in the kitchen and bathroom sinks must have a maximum flow rate of 9L/minute. This stipulation does not apply to bathtub, laundry, washing machine, dishwasher and garden taps. There must also be no leaking taps at the start of the tenancy.
The rental property must also have its own water meter and the landlord cannot charge more than the water usage charges billed by the supplier.
How do landlords comply with these water efficiencies standards?
The easiest way to ensure that a rental property complies with these standards is for the landlord or property manager to engage a licenced plumber to perform an audit, fix any relevant plumbing problems and issue a Certificate of Compliance. This certificate is not legally required by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, but it is helpful for the landlord and can be included in the ingoing and outgoing property condition reports. It also demonstrates to the tenant that the property complies with the Tenant Act for water efficiencies.
At Pied Plumber, we recommend that you have a Water Efficiency Compliance Certificate renewed at the end of each tenancy and before the new tenancy commences. This protects the landlord by preventing the tenants from refusing to pay the water bills because they believe the property is not water efficient, but it also protects the tenant from paying excessive water usage charges due to water inefficiencies at the property.
Landlords don’t have to engage a licenced plumber to inspect their plumbing and install water efficiency devices in their rental property. However, if they want to pass on the water usage charges to their tenants, they must prove that the property is water efficient. This can be difficult to achieve when you have no paperwork to support your claim and the onus is on the landlord to prove that their property is water efficient and complies with Residential Tenancies Act 2010; it is not the tenant’s responsibility to prove that the property doesn’t comply with the Act.
Pied Plumber are experienced licenced plumbers in Sydney. We will inspect your rental property at the end of each tenancy, repair any water efficiency problems, and issue you with a Residential Tenancies Act 2010 Certificate of Compliance.
To book a Rental Property Compliance Inspection in Sydney, call your local Pied Plumber on:
1300 13 80 80.