South Australia Utility Fees and Other Charges

During any tenancy, charges additional to rent arise including utilities, rates and taxes. In South Australia, the law requires landlord to pay for all fees and charges, except water supply in certain circumstances.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

In South Australia, all charges related to using the premises, except for water, are always paid for by the landlord. This includes any government taxes or rates, electricity, or sewerage charges.

Who is responsible for water supply charges?

The landlord is responsible for any water supply charges for the rented premises, except in the two following situations:

  1. Agreement between Landlord and Tenant—if the tenant and landlord make an agreement about how water charges will be paid. For example, the landlord and tenant will often put in the tenancy agreement a term detailing how water charges are paid. In share accommodation where the landlord and tenant both live at the premises, this kind of agreement is a good way of sharing the cost of water by estimating usage.
  2. Tenant’s usage is separately metered—if the water supplied to the rented premises is separately metered. This means that the tenant’s water use at the premises must be measured separately to the landlord and anyone else’s usage. This will usually be the case where the tenant rents an entire property from the landlord.

Tenants are not required to pay water supply charges if:

  • the landlord does not request payment from the tenant within 3 months of receiving a water bill from the supplier, or
  • the landlord does not supply a copy of the water bill within 30 days of the tenant requesting it.

What about water rebates?
If there is a rebate on a water supply bill, the landlord must pass on the rebate to the tenant. When there are multiple residents under separate tenancy agreements at one premises, the rebate must be proportionate to the amount of residents. For example, if there are two tenants each under a separate agreement, they should each receive half of the rebate. Similarly, if the tenant and landlord both live at the premises, then the tenant should generally receive half of the rebate.

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These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.