Information for tenants

If you're renting it's important to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to energy and water bills.

Who pays the energy bills in NSW?

  • Electricity and gas: If you have a standard Residential Tenancy Agreement, you will be responsible for electricity and gas charges, and you will need to open accounts. However, if your lease specifically states that electricity, gas or water usage is included as part of your rent, you will not need to open accounts. The landlord will need to open the account/s, and they cannot charge you any additional fees for doing this. You can only be charged for electricity or gas (as part of your lease agreement) if the rented premises are separately metered.
  • Water: Generally landlords are responsible for paying service charges for water and sewerage, however as a tenant you can be asked to pay for water usage. If you are responsible for paying for the water you use, this should be stated in your rental agreement before you sign. For a landlord to be able to pass on water usage charges to a tenant, the property must be separately metered, meet the water efficiency measures, and the charges must not exceed the amount payable by the landlord (according to the water supplier’s bill or other evidence).
  • Public housing tenants are required to pay for water and this charge is in addition to the rent. For more information contact Housing NSW.

You can only be charged for the metered amount of water which you use, so make sure the meter reading is noted on the Condition Report when you move in or out.

Living in a share house

When you open an account in your name, you take responsibility for all future bills. If the account is in more than one name, each person can be held responsible. If you are living in share accommodation, make sure the account holder details are kept up-to-date. You should ensure that everyone in your household agrees on who will be responsible for paying the bills. Read more about opening and closing accounts.

Landlord / tenant disputes

If your landlord fails to pay an account on time or you have a dispute with your landlord over a high bill resulting from a faulty hot water service, contact Fair Trading or the Tenants’ Union.

If you are living in community or public housing and you have a dispute, contact the Housing Appeals Committee.