Property is a firmly-established investment choice in Australia, but it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, especially when it comes to utility costs and compliance. Making sure your rental property has energy and water-efficient appliances is now embedded in tenancy laws, so here’s what you need to know.
Most people will likely assume that the tenant is responsible for the cost of water they use, but that’s not always the case. Water efficiency standards in NSW only allow water usage costs to be passed on to the tenant if the property meets certain criteria:
Water Efficiency Measures NSW
|Leaks||There cannot be any leaking taps or toilets anywhere on the property at the start of a tenancy, or when other water efficiency measures are installed, repaired or upgraded.|
|Showerheads||Maximum flow rate of 9L p/minute|
|Taps||Maximum flow rate of 9L p/minute for all internal cold water taps and single mixer taps for kitchen sinks and bathroom hand basins.*|
|Toilets||From 23 March 2025, all toilets on the property must be dual-flush with a minimum 3-star WELS rating.|
|* The 9L p/minute flow rate does not apply to other taps on the property. This includes
In addition to these standards, the property must also have a separate water meter or have water delivered to it.
If a rental property doesn’t meet these standards, landlords are liable for the cost of water usage for the property. So it pays to ensure your new investment property complies with the standards and is fitted with water-efficient products.
You can find more information at Fair Trading NSW.
Water efficiency rebates NSW
At this time there is no state-wide rebate scheme available to homeowners to upgrade or replace inefficient showerheads or appliances. However, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the NSW Government website, or checking with your local council to see if they have any rebates available.
It’s also worth remembering that even if your council doesn’t offer a water efficiency rebate scheme, you can still deduct the costs to meet the standards at tax time.
Water efficiency certificates NSW
While there’s no legal requirement to provide a water efficiency certificate to tenants or property managers, it can save a lot of hassle down the track if you have one. This can confirm your property meets the criteria set out in the Water Efficiency Measures.
However, if you’re building a new home or undertaking major renovations (above $50,000) you’ll need a BASIX certificate to prove your property complies with sustainable planning measures.
Water-efficient products and rating labels
Most taps, toilets, showerheads and water appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines) come with a water rating of up to 6 stars under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.
The scheme is designed to make it easier for consumers to choose water-efficient products, helping us save this precious resource, as well as money.
The star rating on these labels gives you a quick and easy way to see how efficient they are, as well as how many litres p/minute the device or appliance uses.
When you see the water rating label, you know that the product you’re buying has been thoroughly tested and approved for use.
How Chiswick Plumbing can help
Whether you’re buying your first investment property, or need to maintain an existing property, Chiswick Plumbing can help keep your plumbing infrastructure compliant and in top shape.
Pre-purchase plumbing inspection
A pre-purchase plumbing inspection can assess all the taps and appliances on a property for compliance, as well as any hidden issues with plumbing infrastructure, such as blocked or broken drains. Should any problems be detected, such as a lack of water-efficient devices, we can advise what needs to be replaced or fixed so you can factor that into your offer and price negotiations.
FREE annual plumbing inspection
Our Service and Maintenance Program included loads of benefits including free annual plumbing inspections, free phone advice, discounts and priority service – and all for just $39.95 p/year.
Even if you don’t have an investment property, this is a great way to save money and prevent plumbing emergencies in your own home.
For more information or to book an inspection, call us on 1300 55 2248 or send us a message.