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Thread: Common Utility Bills for Separate Units?

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    Default Common Utility Bills for Separate Units?

    I really should know the answer for this, but i'll ask for advise anyway....

    Just found the Mother In-Law a new unit to rent
    It is a self contained "granny flat" behind a main house.

    The property consists of a 3 Bedroom house + 1 Bedroom Granny Flat, in Victoria.
    There is NO SEPARATE meters for Gas, Water or Electricity.

    Unit was advertised at $240pw water included.
    She has agreed and signed up.

    I've just found out that Electricity Bill for the whole property is in a Company name, i guess its the Landlords company.

    From my understanding, you can not on-sell or resell Electricity in Victoria
    (i may be wrong, as i see some retirement units have "private" meters in each dwelling, and a common meter that is read by the utility company)

    I know it is legal to include services in the rent, ie, water, power, gas
    But it is illegal to portion a bill and on sell the charge to the tenant as an additional cost.

    Not too mention the tenant has no legal control over the utility (if power goes out, bill isn't paid, etc)


    Obviously outside requesting the service be separately metered

    What is the legal stand point here?

    Her concerns are:
    Being charged for electricity in excess of her usage


    I've read some Gov Websites and Tenant sites, but they seem to be vague on the subject.



    Last edited by ol' boy; 28-08-19 at 04:23 PM.
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    from my recollection in a situation like that there was a need to prove average usage
    over a certain time period.

    so they had to install the power meter on appliances etc to get the numbers.

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    See if this help, OB:

    The property is not separately metered
    If you do not have separate meters for your electricity, gas, oil or water service, you are not responsible for any of the costs of that service or supply. These costs will be the responsibility of the landlord. If your property uses bottled gas you are liable for the cost of the gas, but not for the supply or hire of the bottles.



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    Yeah, i read that before i posted.....
    It is still vague and at odds to some others....
    But yeah, that was the first page i found

    Apparently there is an exemption for Landlords to pass on Electricity bills to a Tenant
    Some points need to be meet:
    1. The Landlord must supply a copy of the Electricity Bill to the Tenant
    2. The Landlord can not increase the charge of the Electricity Bill
    3. It must be written into the Lease agreement and signed
    I think there is also a time clause for being timely

    But i can not find anywhere where they use this example for a Multitenant situation.
    Last edited by ol' boy; 28-08-19 at 05:53 PM.
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    I would just ask for a seperate meter to be installed in the Sub Board. They are not expensive and wouldn't be expensive to install.
    How it would be determined how much power each building used would be impossible to work out but I'd bet who would get the short end of the stick!

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    Yup, just got off the phone to the Real Estate manager

    Apparently, the owner gets the bill then he tells the Real Estate what each tenant needs to pay, and the Real Estate agent collects the money.
    What a frigging joke
    I can't believe the Real Estate Agent is even being complicit in this.... And i'm sure the Landloard adds a bit extra to make it worth his while
    Seems no one gets a copy of the bill, now even the Real Estate agent

    It does have some bonus, only 1 lot of connection fees, but as mentioned, there is no way of telling whom used what
    Last edited by ol' boy; 29-08-19 at 08:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol' boy View Post
    Yeah, i read that before i posted.....
    It is still vague and at odds to some others....
    But yeah, that was the first page i found

    Apparently there is an exemption for Landlords to pass on Electricity bills to a Tenant
    Some points need to be meet:
    1. The Landlord must supply a copy of the Electricity Bill to the Tenant
    2. The Landlord can not increase the charge of the Electricity Bill
    3. It must be written into the Lease agreement and signed
    I think there is also a time clause for being timely

    But i can not find anywhere where they use this example for a Multitenant situation.
    Consumer Affairs seems to confirm the Tenants Union advice:

    Electricity, gas, bottled gas and oil

    The landlord must pay all installation and initial connection costs for electricity, gas and oil supply. If there is a separate meter, the tenant must pay for all other charges, unless otherwise agreed. If there is no separate meter, the landlord must pay.


    Similarly, the Australian Energy Regulator:

    If your lease states that electricity and/or natural gas
    usage is included as part of your rent, you donít need
    to enter a contract with an electricity and/or natural gas
    retailer. Instead, your landlord is responsible to enter a
    contract to supply your rental home with electricity and/
    or natural gas. Also, your landlord can generally only bill
    you separately for your electricity and/or natural gas use,
    if your home has an electricity and/or natural gas meter
    installed.
    This requirement applies in New South Wales,
    the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia
    and Tasmania, but does not apply in all circumstances in
    Queensland.
    Note the use of the word "generally".



    I imagine that it would be possible to alter this provision by agreement.......but, as you say, that would entail something written and signed for in the lease, including some mechanism by which the amount charged was to be calculated.

    Separate metering is definitely the go.

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    considering you are a sparky you could imagine that its a bodgy setup
    and have a single line going in there because it is separate to the house.

    you could throw one of these in that way she pays exactly what she uses.
    i have seen these installed in plenty of rentals

    Single Phase Electricity Sub Meter


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    Yep, that was exactly what I was talking about.
    There is no need for any involvement of the power company, it would be behind the main meter. I'd ask the land lord for a copy of the bill to see what the rate was and then you can read what you have used and calculate from there. Monthly supply fees would be debatable, I'd suggest the fairest thing would be to halve those.

    I'm amazed people have been there before and trusted the LL to tell them how much their power was. May as well roll a dice or base it on the price of Fish in Mongolia.
    I'll bet the LL has been Pocketing some nice extra $$ on the side and depending on the deal with the agent, they may be getting a cut too.

    I couldn't imagine having to rent. Always been in my own place and able to do what I like and not have to worry about someone else making decisions about where I would be living or having to fight with over repairs or being inspected or strata fees and .... Don't know how people do it. As for being told how much my power bill was with no determination as to what I actually used.... Think I rather live in a caravan.

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    only one way to fix this OB - and that is to move the mother-in-law into your house !!!
    seriously though its a bad situation , and may work well if the landlord is honest , but you have no way of knowing that for sure. In theory if she has only one bedroom and the main house has 3 bedrooms then all bills should be split so she only pays 25% of the entire bill.
    This could go bad for the main house as well , maybe the person in the garden flat keeps a heater going 24/7 , while the house's occupants are at work all day not using much power.

    I'd be interested to know if the whole premises is actually approved by council or if its some dodgy lebo setup. Does the flat have its own RCDs or is it off one circuit in the main? Any landlord who was fair would just install the extra meters , its not hard to do anyway.
    I own a house / flat in Brissie which has separate everything , and even when i had the bathroom and kitchen renovated in the main house i went as far as installing a fire separation wall between the two tenancies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    only one way to fix this OB - and that is to move the mother-in-law into your house !!!
    .
    Ironically, that is what i was staring down the barrel of mate.

    And you are right about the rest, i explained to the Mrs last night that it might be a good thing, if done fair, as it saves her mother paying for the connection fee and service fee
    On the other hand, if the Landlord is just rounding everything up and adding some mayo, maybe not so good

    Essentially, she is renting a bedroom, only its external to the house

    I used to have a rental years that had a 2 bedroom flat under a 7 bedroom house
    I rented both separately, but i paid the power (which was less then ideal for me)
    Last edited by ol' boy; 29-08-19 at 10:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fandtm666 View Post
    considering you are a sparky you could imagine that its a bodgy setup
    and have a single line going in there because it is separate to the house.

    you could throw one of these in that way she pays exactly what she uses.
    i have seen these installed in plenty of rentals

    Single Phase Electricity Sub Meter

    Yeah, spot on, i had considered this, yet i'm not even sure she has a Sub-Board in her unit
    Which brings its own problems!!!

    Another sneaky reason Landlords do this is because they have claimed FHOG and want to pay the utilities make it appear they are living there

    The other point is it doesn't allow her to shop around Electrical Retailers....
    I asked to see some previous bills and they don't seem too bad, pretty much what she was paying, around $240 a quarter

    I imagine the Landlord is just splitting it 75% / 25%.... And in which case, the Mother In-Law might as well use as much power as she wants
    Last edited by ol' boy; 29-08-19 at 08:48 AM.
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    in Victoria is she entitiled to claim an electricity rebate off the govt once she turns 65? I couldnt imagine Centerlink paying a rebate unless they see a genuine power bill

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    Thanks mate, good point, she is 73 and on rent assistance too.......
    I don't think she knew about the discount on power
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    Quote Originally Posted by VroomVroom View Post
    in Victoria is she entitiled to claim an electricity rebate off the govt once she turns 65? I couldnt imagine Centerlink paying a rebate unless they see a genuine power bill
    I don't think that there is a "Government" electricity rebate in Victoria.

    There was a $50 Power Savings Bonus on offer for using a government tariff comparison site, but that expired Dec 31, 2018.

    The only saving of which I am aware in Victoria is the concession offered to concession card holders by individual electricity suppliers.

    How do I apply for the concession?

    Phone your electricity retailer and give your concession card details over the phone. You may also be able to apply via your retailer's website.

    Your retailer will check your card details with Centrelink and apply the concession to your bill.


    The concession is then applied directly by the energy retailer to the bill, with no involvement from DHHS, other than it is the DHHS card that enables the concession.

    In order to get that concession, I think the electricity connection would have to be in the name of the concession card holder.....back to separate metering again.
    Last edited by Thala Dan; 30-08-19 at 03:19 PM.

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