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Water Usage & Sewerage Charges Refund. Are You Eligible?

By | 02/06/2021

Water Usage & Sewerage Charges Refund

You may have recently received a circular from one of the metropolitan water companies advising that you may be eligible for a refund. Whilst these types of claims are not always of value, this one has merit, particularly to strata office landlords and occupiers where water is supplied to a common area kitchen and not to individual suites.

The offer of a refund stems from a little publicized case at VCAT, being PBJ Blackburn Road Pty Ltd V Yarra Valley Water [2018] VCAT 1530 (4 October 2018).

The case arose following the purchase of a strata titled office suite. At the time of sale, the relevant statement concerning water rates omitted charges for water and sewerage supply. Following settlement, the water rates notice subsequently issued to the Purchaser included these charges. The Purchaser took issue with this all the way to VCAT. Whilst there was a failure to disclose the new charges, a larger issue was that these costs were already borne by the Owners Corporation, so in also separately charging owners, this amounted to double dipping on the part of the water company, particularly given there was no water nor sewerage connected to the individual office suites. VCAT found in favour of the applicant.

For further examination, the details of the case can be found here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2018/1530.html

In practice what this means is that any quarterly charges made in error, may be subject to a refund backdated to 2018.

A recent examination of a 75sqm office suite in the CBD under our management revealed that the landlord was eligible for a refund of approximately $2,000.

Should you have any concerns with the charges to your property in this regard, then we encourage you to contact your property manager for further review and discussion.

Tono Soetojo

Written by Tono Soetojo

Tono has been working in the property industry for more than 10 years, having a rich experience in various aspects, from sales, project marketing, property management both residential and commercial.

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