Queensland: Individual Water Meters for Apartments
Kelly Borell
01 December 2014

We have received an increasing number of inquiries from Gold Coast bodies corporate recently, regarding the possibility of installing individual water meters to their schemes.

Currently, most body corporate schemes built prior to 1st January 2008 have one water meter for the entire complex, which is read by the Council (municipality). Council will then issue individual water rates notices to each Lot (unit) owner based on the contribution lot entitlements within the scheme.

This means that the owners will pay the same portion of the total bill, regardless of how many people reside in the unit or how much water is consumed.*

Bodies corporate now have the option of installing individual water meters (sub-meters) for each lot and entering into an agreement with Council to have the individual water meters read and each Lot owner within the scheme billed for their usage. The agreement with Council is based on the following requirements:

All lots within the scheme must have a sub-meter.

The sub-meters are installed in compliance with Council’s technical specifications and guidelines.

The sub-meters are accessible to read.

The Body Corporate retains ownership and maintenance responsibilities of the sub-meters.

The Body Corporate accepts liability for water consumption supplied to the common property defined as common property water consumption.

The Body Corporate accepts the responsibility to either replace the sub-meters every 8 years, or to have each sub-meter “verified” in accordance with the Australian Standard.

The Body Corporate agrees that, should the requirements under the agreement not be met, the Council will then revert to the previous system of reading the main meter for the complex and billing the Lot owners based on contribution lot entitlements.

Installing sub-meters in a complex is an advantage to both the owner occupier and owner investor because:

As an owner occupier, you are assured that you are only being billed for the water usage that you are actually using.

As an owner investor, the water usage component of your council rates notice can be on-charged to the tenant if:

The rental property is individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle); and

The rental property is ‘water efficient’ (see below); and

The tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption.
Water charging – Residential Tenancies Authority

A property is considered water efficient if:

The internal cold water taps and single mixer taps (excluding bathtub taps and taps for appliances) must have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute.

All shower heads must have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute.

All toilets’ dual flush function must not exceed 6.5 litres on full flush and 3.5 litres on half flush, and a maximum average flush volume of 4 litres.

* Please note that as at 1st January 2008, individual meters (sub-metering) was
   made compulsory for all new schemes.

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