Buying or Selling
If you’re buying, selling or moving house, there are a few things to consider in relation to your water services and billing requirements. Read on for more information
BUYING A PROPERTY
Under the Local Government Act, a Certificate is requested by your solicitor/conveyancer to determine the amount (if any) due or payable by way of the Rates or Water Charges in respect of a parcel of land. This is because an owner of a property is responsible for any unpaid charges.
Your solicitor/conveyancer should also request a final water meter read ideally 2 weeks before settlement. This will provide an up-to-date water meter reading for water usage charges and any unbilled fixed charges.
Final water meter reads can be obtained for a fee through the Council Certificates portal.
When a property is sold and settlement has taken place the new owner becomes liable for payment of all rates and water charges even when the water usage relates to a period prior to purchase. The settlement process should have accounted for charges in the previous ownership.
NEW OWNERSHIP OF A PROPERTY
As a new owner you may receive a Water Account that includes charges for a period of time you did not yet own the property. This can occur as the normal meter reading cycle (approximately every 90 days) takes place irrespective of any settlement dates. The account you receive will have water and sewer availability charges as well as water usage for the quarter. Please contact your Solicitor/Conveyancer if you have any concerns.
In addition, it is not unusual for the property ownership details to take a number of months to alter. Council relies on information submitted after the settlement date by your Solicitor/Conveyancer to the NSW Land and Property Information Office. Subsequent advice from that office regarding land titles is required by Council before ownership details can be altered.
SELLING A PROPERTY
Your Solicitor/Conveyancer will check all calculations made by the purchasers Solicitor or Conveyancer for any monies owing to Council, and provide cheques to pay all outstanding amounts. If a debt has been accrued on the property your solicitor will arrange payment be made to Council from the final sale of the house.
It can take some time for the transfer of the property to be registered with the NSW Land and Property Information (Land Titles) Office. Therefore you may receive a Water Account for the property after you have sold it. In this regard simply return the water account to us and we will forward it to the new owner.
Council does not disconnect water and sewerage services at the time of sale.
RENTING A PROPERTYAt Council, we send all water bills to the property owner or managing agent. As a tenant it’s worthwhile checking with your landlord or managing agent as to your responsibilities and obligations.
It is not unusual for the tenant to be responsible for water usage charges. Your real estate agent will usually advise you of any Water Usage charges to be paid.
In accordance with the Local Government Act, any outstanding amounts belonging to the property remain the owner’s responsibility. Council will not restrict water supplied to a tenanted property as a means of resolving disputes.
Contact the property owner or managing agent for details and further information on your responsibilities.
INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS
As an owner of a residential tenanted property, you are responsible for paying all the sewer and base water charges and depending on your lease agreement, your tenants pay the water usage charges.
Most commercial tenants are responsible for paying the total water account (service and usage charges). However, this depends on the lease agreement with your tenant.
Check with your property manager as to how they manage your water account. If you do not have an agent managing your property, you may need to collect the water usage charges from your tenant directly.
You or your managing agent can arrange a meter reading to calculate a tenant’s water usage if they are vacating the property. There is a fee charged for this service.
INFORMATION FOR TENANTS
As a residential tenant you are generally responsible for water usage charges and your landlord or managing agent may supply you with an invoice or advise of the amount and due date. Most commercial tenants are responsible for paying the total water account (service and usage charges). However, this depends on the lease agreement with your property owner or managing agent.
We send all water accounts to the property owner or managing agent. Check with your landlord or managing agent as to your responsibilities and obligations as you are not a direct customer of Council.
If you are moving out, you don’t need to organise to have the water meter read or for it to be disconnected. Your landlord or managing agent should arrange for the water meter to be read so the amount owed by you can be calculated. They can request Council to perform a special meter read. There is a fee charged for this service, or they may read the meter themselves.
DISPUTES OVER WATER USE - NSW CIVIL ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALWhere a tenant, landlord or property manager has a tenancy related issue they cannot resolve with the parties involved, they should access assistance through the NSW Fair Trading’s free dispute resolution service, The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
This service can help resolve complaints about repairs and maintenance, non-urgent health and safety issues, alterations, water saving devices and more.