Encouraging consumer benefits in water for tenants: Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
The NSW Office of Fair Trading is currently undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. The area of proposed reform of particular relevance to PIAC is the proposal to make all tenants of separately metered premises liable for their water usage (rather than have landlords pay the bills and recoup the cost through rents). While PIAC supports this reform as helpful for water conservation, it recommends a number of measures to reduce its financial impact, including protecting tenants newly liable from rent increases for 12 months and requiring landlords to still pay the water access charges. PIAC also recommends that landlords be required, rather than merely ‘encouraged’, to install water-efficient appliances when carrying out repairs or renovations, and that tenants should be directly billed by the supplier for their water usage (as happens in Victoria and Western Australia), rather than having to go through landlords or property managers.