Water metering win for tenants

Pay only for what you use. That’s what the FACS Housing policy says, and that’s what will happen for hundreds of social housing tenants who’ve been overpaying for their water use for several years.

A few years ago, Minto Resident Action Group (MRAG) and social housing tenants in newly built multi unit buildings in Bradbury noticed that they were being charged water as a percentage of their rent even though they had a separate meter and the metre was being read by Sydney Water. That’s not what is supposed to happen. Under FACS Housing policy, where there are separate water meters for each unit then the water charge for a tenant in a unit must be calculated on what their meter records as usage. That’s fair. But in one of those bureaucratic bungles, it turned out that the Land and Housing Corporation only held a single account for each new building. That’s not fair.

MRAG, tenants and the Tenants’ Union (TU) have been working together to get this practice stopped and for a system to be put in place that sticks to the law. In December 2016, the TU received a letter from the Land and Housing Corporation confirming that Sydney Water will be creating individual accounts for over 5000 units so tenants in the units will only pay for the water they use. Sydney Water has also given a commitment that individual accounts will be created in future for all new social housing properties where individual meters are installed.
Jen and Lorraine say, "6 years of working together and persistence equals a positive result in the battle to be charged fairly for our water."

Originally published on the Tenants NSW website in January 2017