Water charging

Property managers/owners are allowed to pass on the full cost of water consumption, provided:

  • the rental property is individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle), and
  • the rental property is water efficient, and
  • the tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption

Items a tenant can be charged

A breakdown of water charges is shown below.

Charge as shown on water bill Can tenant be charged?
State Bulk Water Charge Yes, tenant can be charged*
Note: the bulk water rebate is no longer available in Queensland
Water Usage Charges Yes, tenant can be charged*
Sewerage Usage Charge (may appear on the bill as fixed or variable) No, tenant cannot be charged
Sewerage is not a service charge as defined by the Act and cannot be passed onto the tenant
Fixed Access Charges
(including Water Access Charge and Sewerage Access Charge)
No, tenant cannot be charged
The property owner/landlord must pay all fixed charges for water supply
*if the above criteria are met

water charging on entry condition report

The water meter reading should be recorded on the Entry condition report at the start of a tenancy.

Water efficient property

Rental properties are considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet the standards listed below.

Water efficient devices Minimum water efficient standard required
Internal cold water taps and single mixer taps (excluding bathtub taps and taps for appliances) A maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute
Showerheads A maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute
Toilets A dual flush function not exceeding 6.5 litres on full flush and 3.5 litres on half flush and a maximum average flush volume of 4 litres (based on the average of 1 full flush and 4 half flushes)
The requirement for taps applies only to internal cold water taps that are installed over a hand basin, kitchen sink or laundry trough (including single mixer taps). The requirement does not apply to other taps in the property such as bath tub taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps which supply washing machines or dishwashers. These taps are not required to be water efficient.

Property managers/owners should be able to demonstrate the presence of water efficient fittings where it may be unclear, such as by providing copies of:

  • plumbing reports
  • receipts
  • packaging
  • warranties or instruction manuals for taps and showerheads

For any water fixtures produced from 2005 onwards, the easiest way to check if they meet the required efficiency standard is to look for products with a WELS rating of three stars or higher. WELS is Australia's water efficiency labelling scheme which rates fixtures including taps, showerheads and toilets according to water efficiency - the more stars the better. To find out more about the scheme or search the registered product database, visit

Fast facts

  • Rental properties are considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet standards listed above in the Water efficient property tab.
  • At the start of the tenancy agreement, the property manager/owner and tenant should negotiate arrangements for water charging and the frequency of charges.
  • Water billing periods are unlikely to align with tenancy agreements. It's important that the water meter reading is noted on the Entry condition report (Form 1a) when starting a tenancy, and on the Exit condition report (Form 14a) at the end of the tenancy.
  • The presence of water efficient fittings should be noted on the Entry condition report.
  • Taking a photo of the water meter at the start and end of a tenancy can help support what you have noted on the condition report forms.
  • Property owners or landlords will receive the water bill and should provide their tenants with a copy of water bills or evidence of water consumption to verify the amount to be charged. Tenants will not be billed directly by water supply authorities.
  • Tenants must be given 1 month to pay any water bill after receiving the notice from the property manager/owner.