Buying a property
Under the Local Government Act 1993, a 603 Certificate is requested by your solicitor/conveyancer to determine the amount (if any) due or payable to Council by way of the Rates, Charges or otherwise in respect of a parcel of land.
A Final Water Meter read should also be obtained (ideally 2 weeks before settlement) and which is available for an additional fee. The final water meter read will provide an up-to-date water meter reading for water usage charges and any unbilled fixed charges for water or sewer. This will be issued to your Solicitor or Conveyancer. It is always strongly recommended that a final water meter reading is obtained. Solicitors or conveyancers can obtain final Water Meter reads through the Council Certificates portal.
When a property is sold and settlement has taken place the new owner becomes liable for payment of all rates and water charges even when the water usage relates to a period prior to purchase.
Your solicitor/conveyancer is required to:
- Make allowances for these amounts on the final sale of the house. You should be provided with a settlement statement that will indicate adjustments made.
- The statement should include a calculation for water usage from the date of the last meter read to settlement as well as a separate calculation for the water and sewer availability charges (fixed charges) for the financial quarter.
- When a final water meter reading is obtained, only water usage calculations over a small period is necessary
You may at a later time receive a Water Account that includes charges for a period of time that you did not yet own the property. This can occur as the normal reading cycle will take place irrespective of any settlement dates. In this situation you should have already been compensated for the component by the calculation on your settlement statement and therefore you will need to pay the account. Please contact your Solicitor/Conveyancer if you have any concerns.
In addition, it is not unusual for the property ownership details to take a number of months to alter. Council relies on information submitted post settlement by your Solicitor/Conveyancer to the NSW Land and Property Information Office. Subsequent advice from that office regarding land titles is required by Council before ownership details can be altered.
Selling a property
Your Solicitor/Conveyancer will check all calculations made by the purchasers Solicitor or Conveyancer for any monies owing to Council, and provide cheques to pay all outstanding amounts.
It can take some time for the transfer to be registered with the NSW Land and Property Information (Land Titles) Office. Therefore you may receive a Water Account for the property after you have sold it. In this regard simply return the water account to us and we will forward it to the new owner.
Shoalhaven Water does not disconnect water and sewerage services at the time of sale.
Renting a property
It is not unusual for the tenant to be responsible for water usage charges. Check your tenancy agreement to ascertain your responsibility. Your real estate agent will also usually advise you of any Water Account Charges to be paid. However in some instances you may receive a Water Account issued in the name of ‘The Occupier’.
Check with your real estate agent or landlord that this is the way they would like you to pay for any water usage. Simply pay the account as per the options listed on the bottom and keep your receipt for your reference.
Account arrangements for rental properties
As a courtesy, Shoalhaven Water offers an option for property owners to advise tenants of water usage charges by sending the occupant of the property address the water usage component of the Water Account, this is called ‘Splitting’ the account. Check with your Managing or Real Estate Agent before proceeding to ensure they are aware of the arrangement.
The way a split water account works:
- The property owner will receive a total Water Account including Water, Sewer Availability and Water Usage Charges.
- The tenant will receive a Water Account for the water usage component of the account only. This will be addressed to the ‘Occupier’.
No deviations to this option are possible and all other reminders/notices will be sent to the property owner. In accordance with the Local Government Act, any outstanding amounts belonging to the property remain the owner’s responsibility. Shoalhaven Water will not restrict water supplied to a tenanted property as a means of resolving disputes.
Applying for a Split Water Account
Download the ‘Request to Split Water Account’ form below and return it to Shoalhaven Water by mail or fax, or visit us at either the Shoalhaven City Council Nowra or Ulladulla offices. For further information contact Shoalhaven Water on 02 4429 3214
NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Where a tenant, landlord or property manager has a tenancy related issue they cannot resolve with the parties involved, they should access assistance through the NSW Fair Trading’s free dispute resolution service, The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
This service can help resolve complaints about repairs and maintenance, non-urgent health and safety issues, alterations, water saving devices and more.
If Fair Trading can’t bring the parties to an agreed resolution or if the matter lies outside of Fair Trading’s jurisdiction – eg if it concerns an issue with public or social housing, eviction or illegal activity – either party may lodge claim with NCAT.