Following the introduction of the SA Water Industries Act 2012 the SA Residential Tenancies Act was updated. Prior to these 2014 changes, landlords were responsible for mee3ng sewerage, water supply and water usage charges up to 136 kL per year, tenants were only responsible for “excess” water use above the 136 kL per year threshold.
The Act changed these arrangements by allowing landlords to pass on all water related charges to their tenants including supply, basic use as well as excess water use. In talking to rental property agents, we’ve been informed that it is standard practice for agents acting on behalf of landlords to pass through all water related costs to tenants.
In short, the introduction of the SA Water Industries Act 2012 and ensuing changes in the Residential Tenancies Act has provided a windfall gain to landlords and a deadweight loss to renters. This is contrary to the objective of the Act to ‘protect the interests of consumers.’ Redressing this and the flow on implications for the Residential Tenancies Act update in 2014 is a priority for the Review.