Buying a Property
Under the Local Government Act a Certificate is requested by your solicitor/conveyancer to determine the amount (if any) due or payable by way of the Rates or Water Charges in respect of a parcel of land. This is because an owner of a property is responsible for any unpaid charges.
Your solicitor/conveyancer should also request a final water meter read ideally 2 weeks before settlement. This will provide an up-to-date water meter reading for water usage charges and any unbilled fixed charges.
Final water meter reads can be obtained for a fee 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. The settlement process should have accounted for charges in the previous ownership.
New Ownership of a Property
As a new owner you may receive a Water Account that includes charges for a period of time you did not yet own the property. This can occur as the normal meter reading cycle (approximately every 90 days) takes place irrespective of any settlement dates. The account you receive will have water and sewer availability charges as well as water usage for the quarter. 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 after the settlement date 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. If a debt has been accrued on the property your solicitor will arrange payment be made to Council from the final sale of the house.
It can take some time for the transfer of the property 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. Your real estate agent will usually advise you of any Water Account charges to be paid.
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.
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.