This question about a shared water meter between three units has been answered by Tyson D’Sylva, Ace Body Corporate Management.
Question: We have a shared water meter between three units. I find it very unfair as I contribute towards the other unit owners water usage. How can I change this?
In the article VIC: What’s yours and what‘s common property?, the author Stephen Raff states that:
“If a property owner is renting their property to a tenant and only has one meter for both gas and water for the entire owners corporation, the tenants cannot be charged for the water or gas bills. In order to pass the costs of these services from the owner to the tenant, a separate water or gas meter must be installed.
The Victorian Government encourages the installation of separate water meters in unit complexes, apartment blocks and commercial properties to encourage efficiency and provide a financial reward for people who reduce water use.“
Do these laws apply to South Australia? I am a tenant in a strata complex where we have a shared water meter. I’m being charged 1/3 strata charges of water use as we share one meter between 3 units.
I find it very unfair as I contribute towards the other unit owners water usage, especially when their use is more excessive than mine. In my complex, it appears water use is determined by whoever uses most and then this split 3 ways for each to pay.
Can you give some ideas according to strata regulations in SA in these areas? Does the SA Government encourage and support people who are efficient with water like the Victorian Government does?
Answer: Many Body Corporates these days are being built with separate meters making it very simple for individual billing and therefore eliminating the issue you have.
This is a good question and I will try to do my best to answer, however when it comes to tenancies and your rights you may want to raise this further with your property manager.
In these matters, I have found it to be quite common practice for tenants to pay a share of the account even though there may be only one meter, just as in your case.
You will need to go through your rental contract and locate what you have agreed to, as you may be able to change your arrangement. Please note the laws in SA are different than in Victoria.
Many Body Corporates these days are being built with separate meters making it very simple for individual billing and therefore eliminating the issue you have.
Many local authorities support the efficient use of natural resources, however, no legislation has been passed for you to benefit from this. Separate metering would be ideal.
It may be good for you to raise this with the landlord and ask for it to be discussed at their next AGM of the corporation.
For now, unless you can find a way for separate metering, your contributions may stay as a 1/3 share.
- SA: Q&A Do outstanding amounts limit the ability to vote?
- WA: Q&A Shared Strata Water Meter – A Lot Owner Refuses to Pay
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
This post appears in Strata News #168.
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