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?
The landlord is responsible for paying all rates, utilities, and taxes for the rented premises during the tenancy (except water, see below). This includes:
Although the landlord cannot charge for these costs, it may be a good idea to include a cost estimate of the tenant’s usage as part of the rent. This should be negotiated between the tenant and landlord before entering an agreement.
Water is the only utility charge that the landlord can require the tenant to pay. The tenant can only be required to pay water charges if their usage is separately metered to that of the landlord. Usage is separately metered if:
Separately metered usage is easily calculated when only the tenant(s) live at the rented premises. If however the landlord also lives at premises, determining the tenant’s consumption may be difficult, especially if facilities like toilets and laundries are shared. In this situation, it may be a good idea to include an estimated cost of the tenant’s water usage as part of the rent. This should be negotiated between the tenant and landlord before entering the agreement.
Internet or phone bills should be paid by the person who holds the contract with the service provider. For example, if the phone or internet account is in the tenant’s name, then the bills should be paid by the tenant. If, however, the bills are in the landlord’s name, then the landlord must pay them. The landlord cannot require the tenant to pay any part of those bills.
If the phone or internet bills are in the landlord’s name, then it may be good idea to include a cost estimate for the tenant’s use as part of the rent. This should be negotiated between the tenant and landlord before entering an agreement.
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.