QUESTION: My rental agent has just closed, leaving the water bill unpaid for six months – having pocketed my share along the way. He sold his rental roll to another agency who, after nearly two months, is yet to contact the water authority so the notices are piling up on the floor of the old agent’s office. – Coolhand, (edited from Forum post)
I just received notification that my water will be cut off next week. I intend to simply pay the water bill myself as it remains unpaid and deduct it from next month’s rent.
Why is water handled like this? Why don’t tenants simply pay the whole bill – and this be reflected in slightly lower rents – so that our essential services are not at the mercy of hopeless agents (plural).
ANSWER: Normally I’d say be very careful about not paying your full rent, regardless of the reason, but if your water supplier is Sydney Water you can pay the outstanding charges in lieu of rent.
According to the Tenants Union website, receipts from Sydney Water count as rent receipts. The website has a factsheet on utilities HERE which also provides a form letter to send to the agent explaining why you have paid the water bill.
You can read the question in full, and some more responses, HERE on the Forum.