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Residential Wastewater Charge Is Landlord’s Job

MEDIA RELEASE


Residential Wastewater Charge Is Landlord’s Responsibility

Manukau City (17 November, 2006) – Manukau Water Limited has confirmed that residential tenants cannot be directly charged for wastewater fees that their landlords have to pay.

Some landlords are unfairly trying to pass the charges directly onto tenants, falsely claiming this is a new charge they are facing, says Manukau Water Limited chief executive Raveen Jaduram.

“The fact is that until July 3 this year, when Manukau Water Limited became a council controlled organisation, landlords were paying the wastewater charge as part of their rates bill from the council. A wastewater service charge is now being billed by us, rather than being included on the land rates bill – so therefore it is not a new charge,” Mr Jaduram said.

“It is unfair of landlords to try and pass this existing charge onto tenants and under the Residential Tenacy Act it is actually prohibited to pass on a fixed charge such as this,” Mr Jaduram said.

Manukau Water has confirmed this position with the Department of Buliding and Housing, which administers the Act.

Manukau Water Limited’s wastewater charge for residential properties is a fixed annual charge of $320 – or 88 cents a day. This covers all wastewater discharged from a house, including water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers.

The fixed charge rose by $7 a year – or 1.9 cents a day – on July 3 this year to partly reflect inflation over the previous year.

“That small price increase is what has changed in terms of our wastewater charges,” Mr Jaduram says.

The transfer of wastewater billing to Manukau Water Limited coincided with the Manukau City Council changing its rating system from a land value to an annual or rentable value – and this has made it more difficult to see that it was a transfer from the rates bill, Mr Jaduram noted.
Even if landlords were wanting to recover cost increases indirectly – through raising rents – tenants should note that the only rise in charges for residential wastewater this year is the 1.9 cents a day increase.

Manukau Water also charges for water that goes into homes. This charge is based on the volume of water that is supplied to a property and is measured by a meter. This charge for water can be passed on to tenants by landlords but this should be made clear in residential tenancy agreements.

Manukau Water’s contract is with the residential property owner and
they cannot transfer or assign their liability with the company to any other person without Manukau Water’s written permission.

About Manukau Water

Manukau Water Limited is responsible for the management of the public water distribution and wastewater collection systems for the people of Manukau.

The company serves approximately 338,000 people living in an area covering 552 square kilometres from Mangere, Pakuranga and Howick in the north to Manurewa in the south. It manages infrastructure assets worth nearly $1 billion.

Manukau Water is owned by the Manukau City Council and is not required to generate a commercial return on its assets. Its aim is to ensure the lowest prices consistent with meeting its operating goals to deliver high quality and reliable products and services.


Ends

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