Water advice for property owners and tenants

Change of ownership

If you are selling your house or section it will be necessary to request a special water meter reading. This special reading is normally requested by the seller's solicitor but it is always best to check with your solicitor to ensure the request has been made.

Once the reading has been taken by the council an account can be finalised for the seller and an account started for the new owners on the day the property settles.  

Learn about the special reading charge.

Please note the council do not take special water meter readings for changes of tenants in residential properties. This is the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.  Read below for advice for landlords and residential tenants.

Advice for landlords and residential tenants

Payment of water accounts for tenanted properties

The payment of a water account to Nelson City Council is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenant.  All correspondence will be addressed to the person to whom the water and rates invoices are sent.  Therefore any owner that uses a property manager will need to pass on all relevant information.

Please be aware Nelson City Council staff are not permitted to give tenants any information about water accounts and will not be responsible for sorting out any tenant payments or payments disputes.

Landlords charging tenants for water

Landlords of residential properties in the City wishing to pass the cost of water onto their tenants can only do this if, at the start of the tenancy, it was stated in the Tenancy Agreement that the tenants will pay for metered water supplied to the premises.

If the tenancy started before 1 December 1996 then the landlord will not be able to charge the tenant for water. This is because the law was changed on this date and tenancies already existing retained the provisions in the old Section 39 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

If two or more tenancies are served by only one meter, the landlord cannot apportion the water usage among the residential tenants without installing separate meters.

The Daily Line Charge is a targeted rate under section 19 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 and has the same legal basis as a rate. The Residential Tenancy Act 1986 requires landlords to pay any rates levied on the premises.

What to do at the start of a tenancy

If the tenant is to pay for metered water this must be stated in the Tenancy Agreement. The water meter reading (black numbers only) should be written on the Tenancy Agreement in the place provided.

Paying for water during the tenancy

Every six months the Council will issue a water bill to the landlord. A copy of this account (both sides) should be provided to the tenant or property manager if they are to pay for any water. The tenant should pay the landlord for the cost of any water used. It is then the landlord's responsibility to pay the Council for the Daily Line charge and tenant's water used i.e. the total water account.

What to do when the tenancy ends

The landlord and tenant should read the meter (black numbers only) on the day the tenancy ends and agree on the final reading. A calculation will need to be made to work out what the tenant will pay for water used.

We acknowledge the assistance of Tenancy Services in providing this information.